On March 15, 2022, the Coast Guard stopped charging vessel inspection user fees for towing vessels that use the Towing Safety Management System (TSMS) option for documenting Subchapter M compliance.

Vessel owners who use the TSMS option and have received an invoice for a period after March 15, should not remit payment to the Coast Guard’s Financial Center (FINCEN).

This action is directed by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2022 (FY22 Omnibus), which was signed into law on March 15, 2022. The FY22 Omnibus prohibits the Coast Guard from charging inspection user fees for TSMS option towing vessels until the requirements of Section 815 of the Frank LoBiondo Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2018 (Public Law 115–282 (CGAA 2018)) are met, including the update of TSMS option inspection user fees.

The Coast Guard has initiated a rulemaking to revise its inspection user fees for towing vessels regulated under 46 CFR Subchapter M. Under the proposed rule, vessels using the TSMS option will pay a lower fee than vessels that use the Coast Guard inspection option. The Coast Guard published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on Jan. 11, 2022, and the comment period closed on April 11.

The Coast Guard is currently updating its financial system to suspend the processing of user fee invoices. In the interim, TSMS option owners may receive a notification that user fee payment is due. Please disregard any invoice for inspection fees incurred after March 15 for vessels certificated under the TSMS option of Subchapter M, the Coast Guard said. Further notice will be sent to correct any discrepancies. Please note that the FY22 Omnibus does not prohibit collection of user fees that were due before March 15.

Please send questions regarding vessel inspection fee payment, billing, appeals, and refunds to FINCEN via [email protected] or visit https://www.uscg.mil/fincen/VIF/.

The Marine Safety Information Bulletin (MSIB 04-22) is available for viewing online.