January 2021 Newsletter

The Marine Chemist Association held an Executive Board meeting via Zoom on January 12, 2021.

A summary of the meeting and a general discussion follows.

Happy New Year to all. As we enter 2021 the MCA continues to confront challenges as we move forward. As everyone knows in 2020 all in person seminars were canceled and a Zoom sectional was held in October 2020. The meeting went much better than the board expected and we received many positive comments. Forty-eight chemists attended, along with a USCG 306 representative and one trainee. One of the significant comments received was that having on-line seminars allows chemists to save time and money by not devoting a full weekend to attending a seminar and also allows them to continue to serve their customers. Your Executive Board will continue to evaluate the various options for seminars going forward but they still believe that some form of in person interaction is very valuable.

The MCA has scheduled two virtual (Zoom) sectional seminars this year, one on March 27th and one on October 23rd. Currently both sectionals will present the same content so if you participate you will receive credit for one sectional in 2021. The topics to be covered will be the various steps involved in issuing a “Safe for Hot Work” certificate. The seminar outline follows.

2021 Sectional Seminar Agenda, March 27, 2021. 0900 EST via Zoom

Incidents, Occurrences and Information. Larry Russell NFPA

Cleaning a tank to meet the Safe for Hot Work Standard Safety Designation (SSD) Joshua Marshall CMC 721

  • What cleaning is required to meet the Safe for Hot Work Requirement?
  • How are pipelines handled?
  • How are adjacent spaces handled?
  • Cleaning perspectives from a cleaning company.

Inspection of a Tank to meet the Safe for Hot Work SSD. Lamar Labauve CMC 576, Retired.

  • What does a chemist look for?
  • What does a chemist look for in pipelines?
  • How do you test pipelines?
  • What do you look for in adjacent spaces
  • What do you test for (hot work only)

Issuing a Safe for Hot Work Certificate. Guy Colonna, NFPA, Director, Retired.

  • What is required on a certificate?
  • How do you list the test result?
  • Best practices?
  • How do you write a good SFHW certificate?

This sectional seminar will start at 0900 EST on March 27th. There is no charge for MCA members or affiliates to attend. Non-members will be charged a $78.00 fee payable on the website, www.marinechemistpaysite.com once payment is made please send an email to dvraff@comcast.net and the information to join will be sent.

While the MCA had hoped to have an in-person annual seminar this year the level of uncertainty involved in scheduling seminars has precluded this. Currently, the MCA is exploring the option of holding a virtual annual seminar. More will be announced as the details are finalized. It is expected that it will involve two four hour days.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

NFPA 306

The standard is currently in its revision cycle with a closing date of 6/1/21. Suggested changes to the standard must be submitted via the NFPA website.


Remember, the standard undergoes revision every five years. If you are thinking of submitting a comment for consideration now is the time to do it. After June 1st the comments will become public.

During the annual seminar the proposals will be reviewed so feedback may be provided to your 306 representatives. Your representatives are;

Les Blaize, principal
John Bell, alternate
Greg Grondin, principal
Jim Bruff, alternate

Remember this is your standard and while it takes effort to submit a change proposal, it makes the standard better.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]


The draft hot work training module along with the draft of the revised LNG training module are with the MCQB for comment and review. The intent is to have each of the learning modules posted for use by Marine Chemists and trainees after MCQB meeting in March.

NFPA 301, Fire Protection for Merchant Vessels is out for draft comments. NFPA 350 Guide for Safe Confined Space Entry and Work received no public comment and Larry will poll the committee to see if a second draft meeting is necessary.

The USCG issued a safety alert on bonding and grounding, this was sent out to all chemists and also posted on the MCA website. The NTSB issued a report on maritime incidents including one on cargo pontoons where there was a fire when a Marine Chemist Certificate instructions were not followed.

The NFPA Project Administrator for the Marine Field Service will be on leave from May to August.  NFPA will notify chemists who need to recertify during this period and request that they expedite submittal of their applications for recertification before May.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

MCQB Report

The board met on 10/25/20 virtually. The next meeting is scheduled to be held virtually on March 24 and 25. There is currently a proposal is to have one virtual meeting per year.

During 2020 one Marine Chemist’s Qualification Certificate was revoked; and one other Qualification Certificate was suspended. No further details were made available at this time due to ongoing matters related to each of these actions.

The board asked Larry Russell and Brian Axelrad if any chemist can contact the board with questions, especially on any correspondence that is sent out. They both replied that any Marine Chemist or trainee can contact the MCQB with questions.  Those questions should be communicated in writing.  They further stated that any Marine Chemist or trainee may request an audience with the MCQB.  Such a request and the purpose of the meeting should be communicated to the Board in writing.

Larry emphasized the importance of referencing current requirements on Marine Chemist’s Certificates. He noted that EMCC users need to ensure that when using the drop down list, the instructions selected are correct for the purpose of the Marine chemist’s Certificate. Some chemists are referencing outdated requirements. (Such as expired editions of 306) You can easily change, modify, add or remove any drop down instruction.