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Things To Know About Vapor Control System (VCS)

The Federal and State regulations were enacted since 1990 that require specific marine transfer equipment and facilities to control and safely dispose of their hazardous and volatile vapor emissions from their cargo. The Coast Guard is charged with the responsibility of ensuring that designated systems can collect the cargo vapors to meet the minimum laid down design, operation, and safety standards as per the Clean Air Act amendment of 1990.

The Coast Guard has since then developed a program aimed at incorporating policy guidelines, regulatory requirements as well as third party vapor control system certification. The program was a customer-focused initiative from the beginning and was designed to be responsive to all the needs of the maritime industry, and the federal government recognizes it as progressive for use by private third-party certifying entities. The program and the partnership it has attracted between the Chemical Transportation Advisory Committee (CTAC) and the Coast Guard have helped significantly in the development of effective vapor control systems regulations.

The Coast Guard Headquarters Hazardous Materials Division is charged with the responsibility of managing the technical aspects of all the VCS regulations on a routine basis. The safety requirements needed to control vapors of extra chemicals and operations are updated as technology changes and as needs arise. There are exemptions and inquiries from the industry which are regularly reviewed and acted upon on a routine basis. The division is also involved with the implementation of oversight programs for the Coast Guard and is authorized by third-party VCS certifying authorities. There are also policy letters, advice, and technical guidelines offered to various classification societies and certifying entities.

The vapor control system (VCS) also conforms to the Certifying Entity Oversight, which was developed by the Hazardous Materials Division and in which the inspection, authority review, testing, and certification if the VCS facility was delegated to a third party, private certifying entities. The program is recognized as one of the highly progressive in government that allows marine facilities to freely hire authorizes certifying entities that can accommodate their various needs. This enables them to carry out certification in a timely and cost-effective manner.

The VCS certifying entities which are accepted by the Coast Guard do not work for the later organization under service or procurement contracts. They are paid by the contracted facilities to carry out VCS certifications for the Coast Guard. This makes it essential for the Coast Guard to get a functional oversight program that enables them to maintain effective technical control and quality assurance in the VCS certification program.

Successful third party oversight programs are capable of assuring certifying entities that can perform facility VCS certifications. These certifications are usually conducted as per the guidelines laid down by the Coast Guard. This subsequently reduces possible erroneous certifications, which can impair the safety of the facilities of VCS. The Hazardous Materials Division maintains oversight programs for third parties as well as their VCS certifying entities to ensure maximum safety and compliance.

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