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SEAWAY CORP., U.S. COAST GUARD AGREE ON NEW JOINT SAFETY INSPECTIONS FOR FOREIGN VESSELS ON SEAWAY

SEAWAY CORP., U.S. COAST GUARD AGREE ON NEW JOINT SAFETY INSPECTIONS
 FOR FOREIGN VESSELS ON SEAWAY
 WASHINGTON, June 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Foreign-flagged vessels entering the St. Lawrence Seaway are now being screened under a new, abbreviated inspection program for compliance with U.S. safety and environmental protection laws with only minimal disruption to vessel traffic. The inspections are the result of a cooperative agreement signed recently by the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corp. and the U.S. Coast Guard.
 The newt joint screening program was established by the two agencies of the U.S. Department of Transportation to promote maritime safety and protect the environment while fostering maritime commerce, said Stanford E. Parris, administrator of the Seaway Corp.
 Parris added, "Overall, this agreement is a no-lose proposition that makes good business sense. It enhances Seaway ship safety, protects the Great Lakes ecology and ensures and expeditious ship screening process that preserves the Seaway's competitive position."
 Under the new agreement, signed May 12, 1992, Seaway Corp. and Coast Guard inspectors are boarding foreign-flagged vessels in Massena, N.Y., at the U.S. Snell Lock and conducting their condensed inspections as the vessels travel westbound to the U.S. Eisenhower Lock, three miles up river. The inspections are conducted under the Coast Guard's safety regulations and standards for vessels entering U.S. waters.
 Vessel screenings in Massena serve as the initial phase to the Coast Guard's full safety inspection of foreign-flagged vessels at its first U.S. port of call. Results of the inspections in Massena are entered into the Coast Guard's nationwide computer system so that those items are not reexamined during the full safety inspection.
 To further expedite the process, the Seaway Corp. has assigned five of its employees to work cooperatively with the Coast Guard in its inspection program. Coast Guard inspectors are from the Marine Safety Detachment unit in Massena.
 Ship operators are being advised by the two agencies to undergo inspections if their vessels have not been inspected the previous year or if the vessel has had a history of safety deficiencies.
 The application of the program is an outgrowth of three months of discussions between the two agencies, which took place as a result of the Great Lakes maritime industry's concerns over possible ship delays due to the inspection process.
 Safety items being checked during the abbreviated inspections in Massena include vessel construction and standard safety equipment, radio telecommunications, certificates of financial responsibility, and navigational charts and logs.
 In addition to checking safety and prevention items, the U.S. Coast Guard is educating the crews of the inspected vessels about zebra mussels and the Non-Indigenous Aquatic Nuisance Prevention and Control Act of 1990 which calls for foreign-flagged vessels to discharge their ballast water into the Atlantic Ocean before entering U.S. waters. Voluntary guidelines under this act were issued jointly in April 1991 by the U.S. and Canadian Coast Guards and joint regulations are expected to be issued by these organizations in November.
 -0- 6/11/92
 /CONTACT: Dennis E. Deuschl, 202-366-0110, or Kevin P. O'Malley, 202-366-9816, both of the U.S. Department of Transportation/ CO: U.S. Department of Transportation; U.S. Coast Guard; Saint
 Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation ST: New York IN: MAR SU: EXE


DC -- DC009 -- 9202 06/11/92 11:26 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jun 11, 1992
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