4/19/2018: U.S. Flag interpretations on the ISM Code

This post discusses a recently released Mission Management System Work Instruction regarding the U.S. Flag Interpretations on the ISM Code to provide supplemental flag state guidance regarding the development, implementation, and verification of safety management systems on U.S. Flag vessels. This work instruction also includes specific provisions to assist in assessing risks and developing contingency plans for emergency shipboard situations, and is designed to be used in conjunction with CVC-WI-003, USCG Oversight of Safety Management Systems on U.S. Flag Vessels. Industry stakeholders and Recognized Organizations are encouraged to reference this guidance when developing, implementing, and verifying SMSs in order to promote a strong safety culture throughout the U.S. flag fleet.


4/4/2018: Marine Safety Alert 04/18 – Operation of main propulsion and essential auxiliary machinery

This alert is issued to inform operators of the role that the main propulsion lube oil system was found to have played in the EL FARO casualty. This alert also recommends that operators, especially ship engineers, review the operational procedures and limitations of vital propulsion machinery, and verify compliance with SOLAS, Classification Society and regulatory standards.


2/1/2018: Summary of Congressional testimony regarding El Faro reports

Rear Admiral John Nadeau, assistant commandant for prevention policy, testified Jan. 30, 2018, before the House Coast Guard & Maritime Transportation Subcommittee, during a hearing titled, “Examination of Reports on the El Faro Marine Casualty.” Testifying alongside Nadeau were the Hon. Earl Weener, board member, National Transportation Safety Board, and Mr. Brian Curtis, with NTSB’s Office of Marine Safety.


1/29/2018: Adm. Nadeau to testify before Congress on El Faro final action memo

Rear Admiral John Nadeau, assistant commandant for prevention policy, will testify before the House Coast Guard & Maritime Transportation Subcommittee Jan. 30, 2018, in a hearing titled, “Examination of reports on the El Faro marine casualty.”


12/21/2017: Coast Guard releases Final Action Memo regarding S.S. El Faro sinking and loss of 33 crewmembers

In the Final Action Memo, Adm. Zukunft approves the findings of fact, analysis, and conclusions detailed in the Marine Board of Investigation’s Report of Investigation, essentially marking it as the official Coast Guard position on the cause of the marine casualty.


10/1/2017: Coast Guard releases Report of Investigation into loss of 33 mariners and U.S. cargo ship, El Faro

The MBI concluded that the primary cause of the casualty was the decision to navigate El Faro too close to the path of Hurricane Joaquin. As the MBI expanded the investigation to explore other contributing factors, it uncovered evidence of an ineffective safety management system within the operating company, and failures by both the Coast Guard delegated representative and the Coast Guard itself to provide effective oversight of the vessel’s compliance with safety regulations.


12/13/2016: Release of VDR transcripts, upcoming hearing – A note from the El Faro Marine Board of Investigation (MBI)

Today, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will release a transcript of the S.S. El Faro’s voyage data recorder (VDR), in addition to several other factual reports, to the docket for its investigation into the October 1, 2015, sinking of the vessel. To date, the Coast Guard has conducted two rounds of public hearings as part of our Marine Board of Investigation into the loss of El Faro, and a third hearing is scheduled for Feb. 2017, in Jacksonville. This final hearing session will examine additional elements of the investigation, including but not limited to questions arising from the contents of the El Faro’s VDR, as well as additional witnesses such as former crewmembers, TOTE company officials, Coast Guard personnel and others.


10/3/2016: Remembering El Faro

It has been one year since the tragic loss of the cargo ship El Faro and her 33 crew members. I encourage everyone in the maritime community to take a few moments to remember them, and reflect on the hazards faced by all seafarers. This is an extremely difficult milestone for the families and loved ones. My thoughts continue to be with them.


9/7/2016: El Faro Marine Board of Investigation – Transcripts available from first public hearing

The Coast Guard posted a notice announcing the availability of transcripts from the first hearing of the El Faro Marine Board of Investigation (MBI), held in February 2016.


6/9/2016: Recap of the El Faro hearing so far

Read a recent update on the El Faro hearings from the Chief of the Office of Investigations and Casualty Analysis.


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