| Code: 116937 |

TIN news:  The USCG has issued a Marine Safety Information Bulletin (MSIB) clarifying items pertaining to Remote Access and Consultation (RAC) drills relating to the Salvage and Marine Firefighting (SMFF) portion of the National Preparedness for Response Exercise Program (NPREP).
1. Section 3.4 of the 2016 National PREP Guidelines (Guidelines) directs a vessel owner or operator, vessel master, or designee (as specified in the approved VRP) to: “Contact the SMFF remote assessor by telephone, radio, or other means of communications to discuss a shipboard response scenario as detailed in the VRP.”  This will be revised to read “Contact the QI and/or the SMFF remote assessor as specified in the approved VRP…”
2. The frequency of RAC drills specified in section 3.4 of the Guidelines is annually (NOT quarterly). Specifically, Section 3.4 articulates that RAC frequency is “Annually while operating in U.S. waters, including the EEZ; otherwise, upon entry into U.S. waters, no less than one time per vessel per year.”
3. It is allowable to conduct RAC drills in conjunction with QI Notification Drills provided all of the objectives for both drills are met as detailed in the Guidelines.
According to USCG, administrative revisions to the Guidelines will be done by the PREP Compliance, Coordination and Consistency Committee (PREP4C).  The aforementioned items apply immediately and will be incorporated in the next revision to the Guidelines, expected this Spring.
USCG further says that the above represents the Coast Guard’s commitment to ensuring the preparedness‐to‐respond intent of OPA 90 is optimized. As RAC drills are new to PREP, it is imperative to closely monitor their execution and adjust the Guidelines accordingly. Such adjustments will formally be considered by PREP4C at future meetings.

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