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Notice

Guidelines for Assessing Merchant Mariners' Proficiency Through Demonstrations of Survival-Craft Skills

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Coast Guard, DOT.

ACTION:

Notice of Availability and Request for comments.

SUMMARY:

The Coast Guard announces the availability of, and seeks public comments on, the national performance measures proposed here for use as guidelines when mariners demonstrate their proficiency in survival-craft skills. A working group of the Merchant Marine Personnel Advisory Committee (MERPAC) developed and recommended national performance measures for this proficiency. The Coast Guard has adapted the measures recommended by MERPAC.

DATES:

Comments and related material must reach the Docket Management Facility on or before July 3, 2000.

ADDRESSES:

Please identify your comments and related material by the docket number of this rulemaking [USCG 2000-7288]. Then, to make sure they enter the docket just once, submit them by just one of the following means:

(1) By mail to the Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, room PL-401, 400 Seventh Street SW., Washington DC 20590-0001.

(2) By delivery to room PL-401 on the Plaza level of the Nassif Building, 400 Seventh Street SW., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The telephone number is 202-366-9329.

(3) By fax to the Docket Management Facility at 202-493-2251.

(4) Electronically through the Web Site for the Docket Management System at http://dms.dot.gov.

The Docket Management Facility maintains the public docket for this Notice. Comments and related material received from the public, as well as documents mentioned in this Notice, will become part of this docket and will be available for inspection or copying at room PL-401 on the Plaza level of the Nassif Building, 400 Seventh Street SW., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. You may also find this docket on the Internet at

http://dms.dot.gov.

The measures proposed here are also available from Mr. Mark Gould, Maritime Personnel Qualifications Division, Office of Operating and Environmental Standards, Commandant (G-MSO-1), U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters, telephone 202-267-0229.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

For questions on this Notice or on the national performance measures proposed here, write or call Mr. Mark Gould where indicated under ADDRESSES. For questions on viewing or submitting material to the docket, call Dorothy Walker, Chief, Dockets, Department of Transportation, telephone 202-366-9329.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

What Action Is the Coast Guard Taking?

Table A-VI/2-1 of the Code accompanying the treaty on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW), 1978, as amended in 1995, articulates qualifications for merchant mariners' attaining the minimum standard of competence in survival craft and in rescue boats other than fast rescue boats. The Coast Guard tasked MERPAC with referring to the Table, modifying and specifying it as it deemed necessary, and recommending national performance measures. The Coast Guard has adapted the measures recommended by MERPAC and is proposing them here for use as guidelines when assessing mariners' proficiency in survival-craft skills. Next we set forth the eight skills that a mariner must demonstrate respecting survival craft, and give an example of a Performance Condition, a Performance Behavior, and three Performance Standards for one of the skills.

Eight Skills: Give correct commands for launching and boarding a survival craft; Prepare and safely launch a survival craft; Safely recover a survival craft; Start and operate a survival-craft engine; Steer (command) a survival craft under oars; Row a survival craft; Use survival-craft equipment; and Rig devices to aid location.

The Performance Condition for the skill entitled, “Give correct commands for launching and boarding a survival craft” is: Using a lifeboat properly stowed on gravity davits.

The Performance Behavior for the same skill is: When hearing an abandon-ship signal or the order in English to lower the lifeboat, the mariner will command launching the boat.

The Performance Standards for the same skill are: Commands are issued in proper sequence; All tasks to launch the lifeboat are verified; and The boat is launched in ten minutes.

If the mariner properly meets all of the Performance Standards, he or she passes the practical demonstration. If he or she fails to properly carry out any of the Performance Standards, he or she fails it.

Why Is the Coast Guard Taking This Action?

The Coast Guard is taking this action to comply with STCW, as amended in 1995 and incorporated into domestic law at 46 CFR Parts 10, 12, and 15 in 1997. Guidance from the International Maritime Organization on shipboard assessments of proficiency suggests that Parties develop standards and measures of performance for practical tests as part of their programs for training and assessing seafarers.

How May I Participate in This Action?

You may participate in this action by submitting comments and related material on the national performance measures proposed here. (Although the Coast Guard does not seek public comment on the measures recommended by MERPAC, as distinct from the measures proposed here, those measures are available on the Internet at the Homepage of MERPAC, http://www.uscg.mil/​hq/​g-m/​advisory/​merpac/​merpac.htm.) These measures are available on the Internet at http://dms.dot.gov. They are also available from Mr. Mark Gould where indicated under ADDRESSES. If you submit written comments please include—

  • Your name and address;
  • The docket number for this Notice [USCG 2000-7288];
  • The specific section of the performance measures to which each comment applies; and Start Printed Page 25789
  • The reason for each comment.

You may mail, deliver, fax, or electronically submit your comments and related material to the Docket Management Facility, using an address or fax number listed in ADDRESSES. Please do not submit the same comment or material more than once. If you mail or deliver your comments and material, they must be on 81/2-by-11-inch paper, and the quality of the copy should be clear enough for copying and scanning. If you mail your comments and material and would like to know whether the Docket Management Facility received them, please enclose a stamped, self-addressed postcard or envelope. The Coast Guard will consider all comments and material received during the 60-day comment period.

Once we have considered all comments and related material, we will publish a final version of the national performance measures for use as guidelines by the general public. Individuals and institutions assessing the competence of mariners may refine the final version of these measures and develop innovative alternatives. If you vary from the final version of these measures, however, you must submit your alternative to the National Maritime Center for approval by the Coast Guard under 46 CFR 10.303(e) before you use it as part of an approved course or training program.

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Dated: April 26, 2000.

J.P. High,

Acting Assistant Commandant for Marine Safety and Environmental Protection.

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[FR Doc. 00-10946 Filed 5-2-00; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-15-U