In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States Coast Guard has implemented new procedures to conduct statutory and regulatory inspections on commercial vessels. On March 26, the Coast Guard Commandant issued Marine Safety Information Bulletin (MSIB No. 09-20) concerning new measures to facilitate marine commerce during the National Emergency response to COVID-19. The MSIB expressly recognizes that maintaining the United States Marine Transportation System (MTS) is a critical underpinning to ensure national security, a healthy economy and continued domestic supply chain. Commensurate with that goal, the Coast Guard MSIB states that it will utilize remote or abbreviated inspections to the extent feasible and when necessary, defer inspections. 
The Coast Guard has regulatory and statutory authority to inspect vessels. Because of the COVID-19 threat, all inspections will be conducted in accord with a new protocol. Before boarding a vessel or conducting pre-inspection meetings, all vessel representatives must verify to Marine Inspectors, Port State Control Officers (PSCOs) and Commercial Fishing Vessel Examiners, that no individual that is aboard a vessel is ill. Further, all personnel will use Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommended protective measures to ensure the safety of officers and vessel representatives. 
The local Officer in Charge of Marine Inspection (OCMI) will evaluate the history of the vessel on an individual basis for all statutory and regulatory Renewals or Annual Inspections for the following:
The OCMI, using considered judgment after analyzing all available information, may exercise discretion to: (1) defer inspections for not more than 90 days; (2) accept records including classification surveys photos, videos, vessel logs and reports as credit for an inspection; (3) issue a CG Form CG-835V to restrict the vessel movements; or (4) conduct a full exam.
Further, Third Party Organizations performing exams for the Coast Guard, have the discretion to extend the examinations to a later date.
All Coast Guard inspectors will conduct a risk-based analysis in determining which vessels should be subject to a Port State Control Exam. The Coast Guard inspectors will not issue deficiencies or detain vessels for expired mariner certificates, expired vessel certificates or documents until on or after October 1. Certificate of Compliance (COC) exams may also be deferred, abbreviated, or as necessary, conducted in full.
The OCMI has the discretion to evaluate the scope of the inspection necessary for the commercial fishing vessel dockside exams required by both federal statute and regulation. These exams are required every five years. The OCMI may opt for a complete examination, an abbreviated exam or in some cases, defer the inspection for 90 days. The Coast Guard will issue a letter of deferral to any vessel owner or operator.
 See: U.S. Flagged Vessels at: CGCVC@uscg.mil.
 See: Port State Control Examinations at PortStateControl@uscg.mil
 See: Commercial Fishing Vessel Safety at CGFishSafe@uscg.mil.
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