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My Coast Guard
Commentary | April 12, 2021

Inspecting vessels just got easier thanks to the new INSPECT app

By  Shana Brouder, MyCG Writer 

A weight has been lifted for marine inspectors as a new mobile application. The new INSPECT application gives marine inspectors mobile access to the MISLE system, allowing them to complete the administrative tasks associated with inspection on the go. 

There are three major benefits to the INSPECT app: the ability to access information from the MISLE system while aboard the vessel; to do casework while commuting back and forth from vessels; and to provide flexibility while out in the field.

Prior to the INSPECT app, inspectors had to print and hand carry hard copies of the information from the MISLE system to bring to each inspection. Depending on how old the vessel was, this could easily be hundreds of pages of information, lugged around in binders and backpacks. 

“If a document from MISLE had not been printed and physically brought to the inspection, then the inspector would either need to move forward without referencing the document, or would need to travel back to the office to get the required information,” explained Lt. Matthew Zanella, Port State Control program manager in the Office of Commercial Vessel Compliance.

With commute times of up to three or four hours, returning to the office was not an ideal option.

“We are happy to be providing [marine inspectors] the tools they need to make them better at their jobs,” said Office of Shore Forces Inspections subject matter expert Lt. Matthew Romero. “Because the application can work online and offline, inspectors can do their casework while commuting to and from the vessels.”

Providing inspectors with the ability to do their casework while traveling is something that is being well received by the field and makes the mission overall more efficient.

Finally, the INSPECT app allows for inspectors to remain flexible while out in the field, namely giving them the ability to provide inspection-associated forms to the vessel representatives on the spot. 

“Port state control forms, as an example, previously were printed and given physically to the vessel's captain,” explained Zanella. “The vessel's captain would then need to scan the form and send it to the company. By submitting these forms electronically, these forms can be submitted quicker and more effectively.”

“INSPECT also allows inspectors to respond to emergencies out in the field better informed,” said Romero. “If they get a call like, ‘There is major vessel casualty near where you’re at,’ because they have the ability to access MISLE, the inspector can now change course and go directly to that vessel in need without going back to the office for any historical information or rely on the command center to provide it.”

The INSPECT app is the first application of its kind. Because it is Coast Guard designed and developed, the application connects to Coast Guard databases with the same security as a desktop application from a Coast Guard workstation. 

The rollout of this new application is a crucial step in modernizing the mission, and a collaborative effort  from the Office of Shore Forces, the Office of C5I requirements, the C5I Program Management Office, Office of Commercial Vessel Compliance, and the C5ISC Operations System Product Line. 

The INSPECT app has already been partially deployed, built from feedback provided from marine inspectors in the field. The app is projected to reach full operational capability this July. 

“While there may be some issues in the beginning, we are dedicated to improving the application continually,” said Lt. Ian King of the C5ISC operations system product line.

Inspectors who are having issues with the INSPECT app should submit a ticket with CGFixIt, as with other Coast Guard software issues.