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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Interpretation Response #00-0048 ([Mediterranean Shipping Company] [Mr. Marvin Pontiff])

Below is the interpretation response detail and a list of regulations sections applicable to this response.

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Mediterranean Shipping Company

Individual Name: Mr. Marvin Pontiff

Location State: SC Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

April 12, 2000

Mr. Marvin Pontiff                Ref. No. 00-0048

Manager, Safety and Compliance

Mediterranean Shipping Company

550 Long Point Road

Mount Pleasant, SC 29464

Dear Mr. Pontiff:

This responds to your letter dated February 8, 2000, concerning shipping documentation requirements under the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180).  You ask specifically about requirements for a dangerous cargo manifest and emergency response information.

You are correct that §176.30 of the HMR requires a carrier to prepare a dangerous cargo manifest, list, or stowage plan.  The dangerous cargo manifest assures that information about the hazardous materials on board a vessel is readily available in a single document, thereby obviating the need for the vessel operator to carry a number of separate shipping papers. For each hazardous material, the information on the dangerous cargo manifest must be the same as the information provided by the shipper on the shipping order or shipping paper.  The person supervising preparation of the manifest must certify its truth and accuracy to the best of his knowledge and belief by his signature and notation of the date prepared.  In addition, the carrier must assure that the master of the vessel or a licensed deck officer designated by the master acknowledges the correctness of the dangerous cargo manifest, list, or stowage plan by his signature.  Shipping papers and packing certificates are not required to accompany hazardous materials shipments on board a vessel.

You ask how the master or his designee can acknowledge that the dangerous cargo manifest is accurate without comparing the information it contains with the shippers' documentation.  There is no single answer to this question.  If the master or his designee is not comfortable acknowledging the accuracy of certain information on a dangerous goods manifest prepared by the carrier's office personnel, he should be provided with whatever additional supporting information is necessary.  Ultimately, the master must relay on information provided to him as well as any of his own observations of the cargo and its storage on board the vessel in fulfilling his responsibilities under §176.30(c).

You also ask how Port State Control authorities can verify that the information on a dangerous cargo manifest matches the shipping papers when the shipping documents are maintained at a carrier's business office rather than on board the vessel.  The HMR do not prescribe a specific time within which records related to a hazardous materials shipment must be provided to a government authority if requested.  Records should be made available to enforcement authorities within a reasonable time.  Although not required by the HMR, a carrier may choose to maintain shipping papers on board a vessel to assure that they are readily available.

Your understanding of the requirements for emergency response information related to hazardous materials shipments is correct.  Section 172.602 of the HMR provides several options for presenting emergency response information.  You will note that all of the options require the emergency response information to be directly associated with the basic description and technical name of  the hazardous material or to cross-reference the description of the hazardous material on the shipping paper.  This assures that, in an emergency, information about the hazards of the specific materials involved can easily be accessed.  Provided the information required by §172.602(a) is included, any of the three options listed in §172.602(b) for formatting the information is acceptable.

I hope this information is helpful.  If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact this office.


Thomas G. Allan

Senior Transportation Regulations Specialist

Office of Hazardous Materials Standards


Regulation Sections

Section Subject
176.30 Dangerous cargo manifest