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46 USC 3316 - Classification Societies

(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.

(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 sectionSource section (U.S. Code)
3316 46:9 (less (c))

46:369

46:881

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Last modified: October 26, 2015