Operations suspended at the Federal Maritime Commission

The Federal Maritime Commission closed on Tuesday as part of the federal government shutdown due to a lapse in the current fiscal year appropriations. The FMC will resume normal operations when appropriations legislation is enacted and the federal government reopens.

With the exception of the chairman and four commissioners, who are presidentially-appointed and Senate-confirmed officials, all FMC employees have been placed on furlough and are prohibited by law from performing any duties during the shutdown. As a result, all FMC functions have been suspended, including the following:

  • The Commission will not respond to email or phone inquiries.
  • The Commission’s website will be available during the shutdown, but it will not be updated with new information until operations resume.
  • The Commission will not accept online filings or applications through its website for the following:
    • Service contracts through SERVCON;
    • Ocean Transportation Intermediary (OTI) applications through the Automated OTI Application (FMC-18); or
    • Tariff Registration Forms (FMC-1).
    • The Commission will not accept filings during this period for:
    • Ocean carrier or marine terminal operator agreements or amendments;
    • Applications for certification of financial responsibility for cruise lines embarking from U.S. ports; or
    • Agreement monitoring reports, minutes or transcripts.
  • The Commission’s online databases: SERVCON, the VOCC and NVOCC Tariff List, List of FMC Licensed and Bonded OTIs, and the Agreement Notices & Library will not be accessible.
  • The Commission will not accept or act on complaints, requests for dispute resolution services, nor ombudsman services.
  • The Commission will not be available to address issues regarding cruise vessel operations or sailings.

All filing deadlines in formal and informal adjudicatory and investigatory proceedings pending before the Commission or Administrative Law Judges have been stayed as of midnight Sept. 30. No filings will be received during the shutdown. Upon reopening of the federal government and the FMC, the public is welcome to contact the Office of the Secretary, 202-523-5725 or secretary@fmc.gov, with any questions about computation of time in proceedings or filing deadlines. 

Also, due to the government shutdown, the National Vessel Documentation Center (NVDC) will be operating under restricted conditions.

All commercial vessel related business will be suspended until the government resumes operations. Recreational fee funding has not been affected; therefore, the limited number of onsite staff will be focused on processing recreational vessel applications.

During the shutdown, the NVDC will:

• Continue to receive and process mail
• Process fax and .pdf submissions in the order received
• Limit walk-in customer service to recreational vessel applicants
• Not monitor phone calls

In addition, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)  issued a notice  advising of the impact of the government shutdown on the Vessel General Permit (VGP) Notice of Intent (NOI) system and the web seminar previously scheduled for Oct. 10 has been cancelled.

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