The General Roles and Responsibilities of Owners & Operators of Regulated Maritime Transportation Security Act for 33 CFR Facilities and Outer Continental Shelf Facilities.

What are the roles and responsibilities of owners and operators of 33 CFR Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA) Facilities and Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Facilities?

Many of our Seebald & Associates International blogs over the past several years have focused on 33 CFR Part 105 Facility Security Officers (FSOs), Maritime Personnel with Security Duties (PSD) and more recently Part 106 OCS Company Security Officers (CSO)/OCS FSOs.  In this month of May 2019, we will bring you some important information about maritime security management and organization roles and responsibilities for 33 CFR Part 105 & 106 facilities.  

The absolute responsibility for a regulated facility’s security management regime starts and ends with the owners and operators.  While 33 CFR Parts 105 & 106 Subparts B, C and D sections are most familiar to CSOs and FSOs, Subpart Part A – General, identifies several mandatory requirements that owners and operators are responsible for. 

Why is this important for CSOs/FSOs to know?  In a successful maritime security regime, it makes strong operational sense for CSOs/FSOs to know and fully understand all the requirements below their positions and above.  The regulations permit owners and operators of facilities to designate personnel with the CSO and FSO duties in a relegated fashion, but regardless of designation, owners and operators are ultimately responsible in the eyes of the regulator, the U. S. Coast Guard.  Any security non-compliance issues may result in a citation to the owner and operator, CSO or FSO, and any critical citations may impact the facility’s ability to conduct its normal operations.  These mandatory requirements can result in loss of profits, productivity and services, and can impact shareholder opinion of how their investments are being managed.

Areas of 33 CFR Parts 105 & 106 Subpart A of significance are Applicability, Exemptions, Compliance dates, Compliance documentation, Non-compliance, Maritime Security (MARSEC) Directives and Rights of Appeal. 

  • Applicability - describes to owners and operators all the types of facilities and OCS facilities that are regulated under 33 CFR and required to have maritime security regimes in order to operate.
  • Exemptions - describe circumstances that owners and operators can expect to not comply with as long as they follow the local U.S. Coast Guard Captain of the Port (COTP) conditions. Failure to follow the COTP conditions may result in an exemption being withdrawn and the owners and operators must then comply with all the 33 CFR maritime security regime requirements.
  • Compliance dates – establishes mandatory dates the owners and operators must have their facility’s maritime security regime in place in order to operate. In some cases, interim FSPs and security operations are approved pending final submissions. For example, during the construction, drilling and production phases of OCS facility operations, owners and operators must demonstrate to the COTP/Officer in Charge Marine Inspection for the Gulf of Mexico (U.S. Coast Guard District 8 OCS Division), they incorporate appropriate security measures throughout each phase and give advanced notice as to when they are shifting from one phase to another.  Following the initial facility security assessment and FSP, there are set compliance dates going forward for renewals of the facility’s security regime requirements. 
  • Compliance documentation – directs owners and operators which security regime records are to be kept and the duration of required maintenance. Also directs the five-year resubmission and approval cycle for the FSP.
  • Non-compliance – defines actions taken by the owner or operator when the facility must temporarily deviate from Subpart A requirements.
  • MARSEC Directives – specify each owner or operator subject to Subpart A must comply with instructions contained in a MARSEC Directive issued under 33 CFR Part 101.405.
  • Rights of Appeal – states any person directly affected by a decision or action taken under Subpart A, by or on behalf of the U.S. Coast Guard may appeal as described in Part 101.420.

CSOs and FSOs of CFR Parts 105 & 106, knowing the roles and responsibilities of your owners and operators will help you help them, especially when new persons come on board your facilities in leadership or management roles of your maritime security regime and have no prior experience with MTSA requirements.  Remember any violation issued by U.S. Coast Guard security compliance inspectors is permanently recorded in a database that is shared across the Coast Guard.

Owners and operators, security directors and managers, to ensure your plan renewals and announced and unannounced U.S. Coast Guard compliance inspections will pass training standards, register your CSOs, FSOs/Alternates to attend a U.S. Coast Guard approved Seebald & Associates CSO/FSO training course.  To view a list of current and upcoming courses and for more information on how to register for a course visit