The U.S. Coast Guard has issued a new set of vessel documentation rules designed to eliminate paperwork for the maritime industry.

The new rules, which will become effective Jan. 1, are part of a revision of Coast Guard regulations that began in the late 1980s, a Coast Guard official said.The review is not related to the broader study of 80 Coast Guard regulations requested last year by U.S.-flag shipping companies to help them compete more effectively with foreign carriers, the official said.

That study, which is looking at vessel design, equipment, maintenance and inspection procedures, is being conducted by a working group representing the industry and the Coast Guard.

Under the streamlined vessel documentation procedures, the Coast Guard will:

* Eliminate submissions of the Maritime Administration's citizenship declaration form currently required for certain owners.

* Require two vessel procurement forms instead of seven, and two copies of the preferred mortgage instead of four.

* Eliminate marking certificates.

The new regulations will have a simpler application process, and inadvertent omissions will no longer automatically void the application.