46 U.S. Code § 3316 - Classification societies

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(a) Each department, agency, and instrumentality of the United States Government shall recognize the American Bureau of Shipping as its agent in classifying vessels owned by the Government and in matters related to classification, as long as the Bureau is maintained as an organization having no capital stock and paying no dividends. The Secretary and the Secretary of Transportation each shall appoint one representative (except when the Secretary is the Secretary of Transportation, in which case the Secretary shall appoint both representatives) who shall represent the Government on the executive committee of the Bureau. The Bureau shall agree that the representatives shall be accepted by it as active members of the committee. The representatives shall serve without compensation, except for necessary traveling expenses.
(b)
(1) The Secretary may delegate to the American Bureau of Shipping or another classification society recognized by the Secretary as meeting acceptable standards for such a society, for a vessel documented or to be documented under chapter 121 of this title, the authority to—
(A) review and approve plans required for issuing a certificate of inspection required by this part;
(B) conduct inspections and examinations; and
(C) issue a certificate of inspection required by this part and other related documents.
(2) The Secretary may make a delegation under paragraph (1) to a foreign classification society only—
(A) to the extent that the government of the foreign country in which the society is headquartered delegates authority and provides access to the American Bureau of Shipping to inspect, certify, and provide related services to vessels documented in that country;
(B) if the foreign classification society has offices and maintains records in the United States; and
(C) if the Secretary of State determines that the foreign classification society does not provide comparable services in or for a state sponsor of terrorism.
(3) When an inspection or examination has been delegated under this subsection, the Secretary’s delegate—
(A) shall maintain in the United States complete files of all information derived from or necessarily connected with the inspection or examination for at least 2 years after the vessel ceases to be certified; and
(B) shall permit access to those files at all reasonable times to any officer, employee, or member of the Coast Guard designated—
(i) as a marine inspector and serving in a position as a marine inspector; or
(ii) in writing by the Secretary to have access to those files.
(c)
(1) A classification society (including an employee or agent of that society) may not review, examine, survey, or certify the construction, repair, or alteration of a vessel in the United States unless the society has applied for approval under this subsection and the Secretary has reviewed and approved that society with respect to the conduct of that society under paragraph (2).
(2) The Secretary may approve a person for purposes of paragraph (1) only if the Secretary determines that—
(A) the vessels surveyed by the person while acting as a classification society have an adequate safety record; and
(B) the person has an adequate program to—
(i) develop and implement safety standards for vessels surveyed by the person;
(ii) make the safety records of the person available to the Secretary in an electronic format;
(iii) provide the safety records of a vessel surveyed by the person to any other classification society that requests those records for the purpose of conducting a survey of the vessel; and
(iv) request the safety records of a vessel the person will survey from any classification society that previously surveyed the vessel.
(d)
(1) The Secretary may delegate to the American Bureau of Shipping or another classification society recognized by the Secretary as meeting acceptable standards for such a society, for a United States offshore facility, the authority to—
(A) review and approve plans required for issuing a certificate of inspection, a certificate of compliance, or any other certification and related documents issued by the Coast Guard pursuant to regulations issued under section 30 of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (43 U.S.C. 1356); and
(B) conduct inspections and examinations.
(2) The Secretary may make a delegation under paragraph (1) to a foreign classification society only if—
(A) the foreign society has offices and maintains records in the United States;
(B)
(i) the government of the foreign country in which the foreign society is headquartered delegates that authority to the American Bureau of Shipping; or
(ii) the Secretary has entered into an agreement with the government of the foreign country in which the foreign society is headquartered that—
(I) ensures the government of the foreign country will accept plan review, inspections, or examinations conducted by the American Bureau of Shipping and provide equivalent access to inspect, certify, and provide related services to offshore facilities located in that country or operating under the authority of that country; and
(II) is in full accord with principles of reciprocity in regards to any delegation contemplated by the Secretary under paragraph (1); and
(C) the Secretary of State determines that the foreign classification society does not provide comparable services in or for a state sponsor of terrorism.
(3) If an inspection or examination is conducted under authority delegated under this subsection, the person to which the authority was delegated—
(A) shall maintain in the United States complete files of all information derived from or necessarily connected with the inspection or examination for at least 2 years after the United States offshore facility ceases to be certified; and
(B) shall permit access to those files at all reasonable times to any officer, employee, or member of the Coast Guard designated—
(i) as a marine inspector and serving in a position as a marine inspector; or
(ii) in writing by the Secretary to have access to those files.
(4) For purposes of this subsection—
(A) the term “offshore facility” means any installation, structure, or other device (including any vessel not documented under chapter 121 of this title or the laws of another country), fixed or floating, that dynamically holds position or is temporarily or permanently attached to the seabed or subsoil under the sea; and
(B) the term “United States offshore facility” means any offshore facility, fixed or floating, that dynamically holds position or is temporarily or permanently attached to the seabed or subsoil under the territorial sea of the United States or the outer Continental Shelf (as that term is defined in section 2 of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (43 U.S.C. 1331)), including any vessel, rig, platform, or other vehicle or structure subject to regulation under section 30 of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (43 U.S.C. 1356).
(e) The Secretary shall revoke a delegation made to a classification society under subsection (b) or (d) if the Secretary of State determines that the classification society provides comparable services in or for a state sponsor of terrorism.
(f) In this section, the term “state sponsor of terrorism” means any country the government of which the Secretary of State has determined has repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism pursuant to section 6(j) of the Export Administration Act of 1979 (as continued in effect under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act), section 620A of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, section 40 of the Arms Export Control Act, or any other provision of law.

Source

(Pub. L. 98–89, Aug. 26, 1983, 97 Stat. 516; Pub. L. 104–324, title VI, § 607(a), (b)(1),Oct. 19, 1996, 110 Stat. 3931, 3932; Pub. L. 108–293, title IV, § 413(a),Aug. 9, 2004, 118 Stat. 1046; Pub. L. 111–281, title VI, § 622,Oct. 15, 2010, 124 Stat. 2978; Pub. L. 112–213, title III, § 304,Dec. 20, 2012, 126 Stat. 1563.)

Historical and Revision Notes
Revised section Source section (U.S. Code)
3316 46:9 (less (c))
46:369
46:881

Section 3316 prescribes the relationship between certain classification societies and the Federal Government with respect to the promotion of maritime safety and the security of life and property at sea. Briefly stated, a classification society, like the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS), establishes and administers standards for the design, construction, and periodic survey of commercial vessels, yachts, and other marine structures. Classification certifies adherence to these standards, thus representing that a vessel or structure possesses the structural and mechanical fitness required for its intended service.
The section requires that a Federal department, agency, or instrumentality recognize the American Bureau of Shipping as its agent for classing vessels owned by the Federal Government and in any matters related to classification. In effect, the ABS has a statutory monopoly on classing vessels of the United States Government. Additionally, the section contains the authority to permit the Secretary to rely on reports, documents, and certificates issued by a classification society that is similar to the American Bureau of Shipping. However, a “similar classification society” continues to mean one that is organized like the American Bureau of Shipping with attendant governmental representation.
References in Text

Section 6(j) of the Export Administration Act of 1979, referred to in subsec. (f), is classified to section 2405 (j) of Title 50, Appendix, War and National Defense.
The International Emergency Economic Powers Act, referred to in subsec. (f), is title II of Pub. L. 95–223, Dec. 28, 1977, 91 Stat. 1626, which is classified generally to chapter 35 (§ 1701 et seq.) of Title 50, War and National Defense. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 1701 of Title 50 and Tables.
Section 620A of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, referred to in subsec. (f), is classified to section 2371 of Title 22, Foreign Relations and Intercourse.
Section 40 of the Arms Export Control Act, referred to in subsec. (f), is classified to section 2780 of Title 22, Foreign Relations and Intercourse.
Amendments

2012—Subsec. (b)(2)(C). Pub. L. 112–213, § 304(1), added subpar. (C).
Subsec. (d)(2)(C). Pub. L. 112–213, § 304(2), added subpar. (C).
Subsecs. (e), (f). Pub. L. 112–213, § 304(3), added subsecs. (e) and (f).
2010—Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 111–281, § 622(b), added par. (1) and struck out former par. (1) which read as follows: “A classification society (including an employee or agent of that society) may not review, examine, survey, or certify the construction, repair, or alteration of a vessel in the United States unless—
“(A) the society has applied for approval under this subsection and the Secretary has reviewed and approved that society with respect to the conduct of that society under paragraph (2); or
“(B) the society is a full member of the International Association of Classification Societies.”
Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 111–281, § 622(a), added subsec. (d).
2004—Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 108–293added subsec. (c).
1996—Pub. L. 104–324, § 607(b)(1), substituted “Classification societies” for “United States classification societies” in section catchline.
Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 104–324, § 607(a)(3), which directed the substitution of “American Bureau of Shipping” for “Bureau”, was executed by making the substitution the first place appearing, to reflect the probable intent of Congress.
Pub. L. 104–324, § 607(a)(1), (2), redesignatedsubsec. (b) as (a) and struck out former subsec. (a) which read as follows: “In carrying out this part, the Secretary may rely on reports, documents, and certificates issued by the American Bureau of Shipping or a similar United States classification society, or an agent of the Bureau or society.”
Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 104–324, § 607(a)(2), (4), redesignatedsubsec. (c) as (b), added pars. (1) and (2), redesignated former par. (2) as (3), and struck out former par. (1) which read as follows: “To the maximum extent practicable, the Secretary may delegate to the Bureau or a similar United States classification society, or an agent of the Bureau or society, the inspection or examination, in the United States or in a foreign country, of a vessel documented or to be documented as a vessel of the United States. The Bureau, society, or agent may issue the certificate of inspection required by this part and other certificates essential to documentation.” Former subsec. (b) redesignated (a).
Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 104–324, § 607(a)(2), redesignatedsubsec. (c) as (b).
Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 104–324, § 607(a)(1), struck out subsec. (d) which read as follows: “The Secretary also may make an agreement with or use the Bureau or a similar United States classification society, or an agent of the Bureau or society, for reviewing and approving plans required for issuing a certificate of inspection.”
Effective Date of 2004 Amendment

Pub. L. 108–293, title IV, § 413(b),Aug. 9, 2004, 118 Stat. 1046, provided that: “Section 3316 (c)(1) of title 46, United States Code, shall apply with respect to operation as a classification society on or after January 1, 2005.”
Transfer of Functions

For transfer of authorities, functions, personnel, and assets of the Coast Guard, including the authorities and functions of the Secretary of Transportation relating thereto, to the Department of Homeland Security, and for treatment of related references, see sections 468 (b), 551 (d), 552 (d), and 557 of Title 6, Domestic Security, and the Department of Homeland Security Reorganization Plan of November 25, 2002, as modified, set out as a note under section 542 of Title 6.

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The most recent Classification Table update that we have noticed was Tuesday, August 13, 2013

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46 USCDescription of ChangeSession YearPublic LawStatutes at Large
§ 33162012112-213 [Sec.] 304126 Stat. 1563

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33 CFR - Navigation and Navigable Waters

33 CFR Part 96 - RULES FOR THE SAFE OPERATION OF VESSELS AND SAFETY MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

46 CFR - Shipping

46 CFR Part 8 - VESSEL INSPECTION ALTERNATIVES

46 CFR Part 28 - REQUIREMENTS FOR COMMERCIAL FISHING INDUSTRY VESSELS

46 CFR Part 31 - INSPECTION AND CERTIFICATION

46 CFR Part 107 - INSPECTION AND CERTIFICATION

 

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