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Site Notification

Site Notification

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

Launch Barge Program


The Maritime Administration’s Launch Barge Program is designed to ensure that the largest of petroleum production platforms can be installed in a safe and timely manner.

The Launch Barge Program has three parts:

  1. We encourage the use of U.S.-flag coastwise qualified vessels for all offshore work and can provide information to assist you in locating U.S.-flag equipment. This will be discussed under “USE U.S.-FLAG VESSELS FIRST.”
  2. If, after canvassing the market, you believe that U.S.-flag coastwise qualified vessels cannot meet your requirements, the Maritime Administration needs significant advance notice regarding the potential use of a foreign vessel. This will be discussed under “ADVANCE NOTICE” below.
  3. There is a specific and detailed application process to follow once U.S.-flag options have been exhausted and the significant advance notice requirements have been met. This procedure can be found under “APPLICATION PROCESS” below.

[...under very exacting circumstances, and after an application and review process. One of the most critical elements of the application process is a requirement that the United States be provided with “timely information to maximize the use of coastwise qualified vessels.” Therefore, our regulation requires that the platform owner or operator must notify the Maritime Administration at least 21 months prior to the contemplated use of a foreign-built launch barge. There are other application conditions and requirements as well.]

Use U.S.-Flag Vessels First

The Maritime Administration supports the coastwise laws of the United States and Federal law requires the maximum use of U.S.-flag vessels for the offshore industry. A list of U.S.-flag equipment that can be used to launch drill rigs, platform jackets, or for other offshore work can be found here. Additionally, in order to keep our list updated, we request coastwise-qualified launch barge owners and other potentially interested parties to register with us with their full contact information. You may register by sending us an email at – Subject: Launch Barge Program. A current list of launch barge owners can be found here.

Advance Notice

One of the most critical elements of the launch barge waiver application process is a requirement that the United States be provided with “timely information to maximize the use of coastwise qualified vessels.” Therefore, we require that the platform owner/operator notify the Maritime Administration at least 21 months prior to the contemplated use of a launch barge. This should be done at the same time you file with the Minerals Management Service for your offshore petroleum “Development Operations Coordination Document” or “Development Production Plan” approval.

Advance notice should be made to Russell Haynes, Maritime Administration, Office of Cargo and Commercial Sealift, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE, Washington, DC 20590, Tele: 202-366-4610, Fax: 202-366-3157.

When we receive an advance notice, it will be posted below.

Early Notification Information Announcements Received by MARAD

Walter Oil & Gas – Early Notification Information (February 19, 2013)

Application Process

Once it is determined that the prior notice requirement has been met, and if the platform owner/operator is unable to find a potential coastwise-qualified launch barge (or other equipment) that will be available for the project, the application process seeking a determination of non-availability can begin. Here is a summary of the information each application must include:

  1. The complete engineering details for the platform jacket to be launched or placed into service;
  2. the operational details for the loading, transporting, launching or installation;
  3. the timing requirements;
  4. the foreign launch barge proposed; and
  5. a non-refundable $500 deposit.

See the regulations for a full description of the information to be submitted and an explanation of additional costs associated with this program. The regulation in this regard can be found here.

Upon the receipt of a completed application including deposit fee, we will publish a notice in the Federal Register requesting that comments and information on the availability of coastwise-qualified vessels be submitted within 30 days. We may also canvas the offshore launch barge market. If, after the comment period, we determine that suitable coastwise-qualified vessels are not available for the project, upon receipt of final payment for all relevant costs, we will issue a determination of non-availability, allowing the transportation, launch or installation to proceed with the foreign-built launch barge vessel.

General inquiries may be addressed to:
Michael Hokana
Tele: 202-366-0760
Email: or with “Launch Barge” in the subject line.  

Last updated: Tuesday, May 25, 2021