The Coast Guard is expected to soon release new safety rules for the towing vessel industry. The rules will be the culmination of an order by Congress seven years ago, requiring the Coast Guard to develop a towboat safety and inspection program. In recent weeks, the Coast Guard has been trying to get the towing vessel industry acclimatized to the impending new rules. The agency recently initiated a bridge program to encourage towing vessel companies to get ready for inspections. The Coast Guard has also increased its interactions with towing vessel operators in order to make them familiar with towing vessel safety requirements. The Coast Guard has determined that the new regulations should attack some of the most frequent deficiencies in towing vessel safety. These include defective alarms, remote fuel shutoff valves and running lights. The Coast Guard came across these deficiencies during inspections and investigations of vessels. Once the new safety rules take effect, only those towing vessels that meet these standards will be able to operate. Punishment for violations can be very strict. Violators may be banned from the waterways, or be subjected to fines or have their licenses suspended. Brian Beckcom is a maritime lawyer who represents crewmembers injured in towboat, cargo vessel, tanker and container ship accidents across the globe. If you have been injured on a vessel, contact the maritime lawyers at Vujasinovic and Beckcom for a free evaluation of your case. You can also download a copy of this report: The Insider's Guide to Winning Your Maritime Injury Case.
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