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14 November 2018
A new resolution, which was recently released at the local level, has introduced requirements for tugboats operating in Colombian waters (Resolution 0685 of 16 August 2018 modifying Chapter 1, Title 5, Part 3 of Maritime Regulation (REMAC 4)). The resolution establishes national rules on the organisation, planification and performance of towage operations in line with International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Resolution A 765(18) and other IMO regulations on safety requirements for towed ships and other floating objects.
Notably, as per Article 188.8.131.52.3.3 of Resolution 0685, the use of tugboats is mandatory for any vessel with 2,000 gross tonnage or more, except for vessels operating around San Andres Island (where any vessel with 1,000 gross tonnage or more must use tugboats (Paragraph 1 of Article 184.108.40.206.3.4)).
As clearly described in Article 220.127.116.11.1.1, the resolution aims to establish technical and security criteria for services rendered by tugboats in Colombia. The resolution also requires tugboats – in particular:
As per Article 18.104.22.168.2.9 of the resolution, tugboat services are classified as follows:
Article 22.214.171.124.2.10 of the resolution further requires that any operation to be carried out by a tugboat in Colombian waters, irrespective of the type of service involved, must comply with all of the safety requirements set out in Annex 25, Part 4 of Maritime Regulation (REMAC 4), including to:
Importantly, Resolution 0685 provides that under exceptionally adverse weather conditions or where an assisted vessel faces particularly adverse conditions (ie, circumstances that could be the cause of or lead to an accident), the pilot must provide an early recommendation to the captain regarding the number of tugboats and the additional bollard pull capacity required to ensure the nautical safety of the vessel involved and the manoeuvre itself (Paragraph 2 of Article 126.96.36.199.2.10). Further, the resolution now requires pilots to report said situation in a document attached to their PILREP report (ie, a format for the report and control of pilotage maneuvers), which must record (among other things):
The above information may be critical when assessing an incident.
The resolution also requires that all information be shared with the harbour master, the captains of the tugboats involved and the respective terminal facility to ensure that any required measures are taken (Paragraph 3 of Article 188.8.131.52.2.10). In addition, tugboats authorised to assist, escort or offer emergency and salvage services must have a digital record device in place that preserves voice communications during operations and keep back-up file of said communications for at least six months (Paragraphs 4 and 5 of Article 184.108.40.206.3.7). All of this information could be considered while assessing the liability of the parties involved following an accident.
Resolution 0685 further states that failure to comply with the aforementioned requirements would constitute a violation of marine merchant rules and thus penalties (ie, fines) may be imposed on the offender, as per Article 80 of Decree 2324/1984 (Article 220.127.116.11.9.1).
For further information on this topic please contact Javier Franco at Franco & Abogados Asociados by telephone (+571 7035633) or email (email@example.com). The Franco & Abogados Asociados website can be accessed at www.francoabogados.com.co.
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