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USCG Rules on Temporary Dispensation for Reduced Navigational Bridge Visibility

SSM Roundel

Steamship Mutual

Published: May 03, 2023

USCG Temporary Dispensation
Reduced Navigational Bridge Visibility Caused by Deck Cargoes

The United States Coast Guard (USCG) have issued a Marine Safety Information Bulletin MSIB No. 04-23 for the attention of vessel owners, operators, flag administrations and recognised organisations highlighting the increasing number of retrofitted bulk carriers carrying wind turbine parts such that they substantially limit navigation bridge visibility.

Many of these vessels have been issued with a ‘Temporary dispensations’ by Flag administrations that exempt compliance with the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) 1974 Chapter V, Regulation 22. As highlighted in the USCG safety bulletin, that temporary dispensation does not exempt the vessels from having to comply with the US requirement on navigation bridge visibility found in Title 33 Code of Federal Regulation (CFR) 164.15. Operators of vessels that do not comply with US regulations for navigation bridge visibility must, before entering U.S. waters, submit a written application to the local US Coast Guard Sector requesting a deviation from the rule. The Captain of the Port (COPT) may authorize the deviation if it does not impair the vessel’s safe navigation under anticipated conditions and will not violate the rules for preventing collisions at sea.

It is important to note that “The U.S. Coast Guard does not typically grant deviations for situations intentionally counter to the regulations or solely for convenience or financial incentive.”

The USCG is the second authority to highlight navigational safety concerns on retrofitted bulk carriers carrying cargo that severely restricts visibility. As previously notified in the Club’s article of 24th November 2023, AMSA have issued a Marine notice 14-2022 highlighting the importance of ensuring bridge visibility and that vessels found carrying cargo in an unsafe manner, and where bridge visibility is found to be severely impaired, may be detained and require the cargo to be offloaded. 

For further information on the USCG safety bulletin and AMSA notice, please click on the appropriate link below:

Navigational bridge visibility is an important issue that should be considered irrespective of where a vessel is trading not only in the USA and Australia


For further information please contact the Loss Prevention Department. Steamship Insurance Management Services Ltd.  Tel: +44 20 7247 5490

Related Resources


MSIB-04-23 Reduced Visibility Navigation Bridge

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