Coast Guard Conducts Compliance Exam at Port of Guam

Image: U.S. Coast Guard.

U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam conducted a Certificate of Compliance (COC) examination on the MSC Bellissima, a 1,036-foot cruise ship flagged out of Malta, at the Port of Guam on Jan. 3.

“This examination underscores the U.S. Coast Guard’s role in maritime safety and its integral part in bolstering local commerce and tourism, which are lifelines of the island’s economy,” the Guard said in a statement.

“This is our first cruise ship exam since 2018 and the largest since the Norwegian Joy in 2016,” Chief Warrant Officer Jennifer Thomas, an inspector with U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam, said. “This vessel, coming from Japan and making its first U.S. port call, required an exam to certify its readiness to carry U.S. passengers in U.S. waters, a critical step in ensuring safety compliance.”

The examination team consisted of four inspectors from U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam and two from the Coast Guard National Cruise Ship Center of Expertise in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

“COC exams are crucial for ensuring vessels entering U.S. ports meet (national) and international stringent safety and regulatory standards. They play a vital role in safeguarding passengers and crew which also supports the economic framework of Guam by facilitating safe and secure maritime commerce,” said Lt. Jay DeInnocentiis, chief of waterways.

“The ship, built in 2019, was in excellent condition with only a few minor issues corrected on the spot,” he added.

The COC exam verifies that the ship and crew comply with the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and other relevant International Maritime Organization (IMO) regulations.

The inspectors conduct the COC exam holistically, according to the Coast Guard, viewing shipboard material conditions, combined with ship operations, as a single system. When considering human factors and influences, this system informs the overall ability of the vessel to operate safely. The exam focuses on the performance of officers and crew with specific attention to training. It also verifies the ship’s compliance with lifeboat and life raft deployment route requirements.