Page 24: of Marine News Magazine (January 2020)

Passenger Vessels & Ferries

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Vessel Safety:

House Subcommittee Seeks Faster Implementation

Credit: U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lora Ratliff

By Tom Ewing n November the U.S. House of Representatives’ Trans- Salud Carbajal, from California’s 24th District, the location portation & Infrastructure Committee, Coast Guard of the recent Conception dive boat disaster, submitted bills and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee held “to require the Secretary of the department in which the

I a hearing on “Commercial and Passenger Vessel Safety: Coast Guard is operating to prescribe additional regulations

Challenges and Opportunities.” Testimony covered a to secure the safety of individuals and property on board range of issues, from recent tragedies such as the Concep- certain small passenger vessels” (S. 3042 and HR 5413).

tion dive-boat disaster to antiquated maritime laws. Passenger safety was a headline issue in November when inspectors with Coast Guard Sector New York determined

HEARING WITNESS LIST that 23 New York Waterway ferries had damage or discrep- • Rear Admiral Richard V. Timme, Assistant ancies signi? cant enough to warrant suspension of service, Commandant for Prevention Policy, including structural damage affecting watertight integrity. United States Coast Guard Most ferries were returned to service by December 17.

• The Honorable Richard Balzano, During the Subcommittee hearing, maritime disasters Deputy Administrator, United States and of? cial agency follow up received priority attention. Maritime Administration Representatives pointedly commented that most of the • Brian Curtis, Director, Of? ce of Marine Safety, time that meant no follow up.

National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) The September 2 Conception disaster, which killed 34 • Vice Admiral Brian Salerno, USCG, Ret., people off the coast of Santa Barbara, was a top issue. It Senior Vice President, Maritime Policy, was cited both as a singular tragedy and as one more sad Cruise Lines International Association example in a long line of maritime disasters despite years of • Adam W. Moilanen, Vice President of Health, Congressional efforts at prevention, at safety.

Safety, Quality & Environment, American Rep. Carbajal asked Coast Guard Rear Admiral Richard Bureau of Shipping, Testimony V. Timme why the Conception was operating under out- • Aaron Smith, President and Chief Executive dated safety regulations. He charged the Coast Guard with Of? cer, Offshore Marine Service Association a “record of inaction,” adding: • Colleen Stephens, Vice President, “I am particularly concerned by the fact that the NTSB Passenger Vessel Association has continuously—for many years—advocated for the • Paul Sterbcow, President, Louisiana Coast Guard to implement procedures for conducting Association for Justice regular inspections, reporting maintenance needs for all of a boat’s system and crew training. Yet the Coast Guard

Since the hearing, new safety legislation was introduced has ignored many of these recommendations.

on December 12. Calif. Senator Diane Feinstein and Rep. “What actions has the Coast Guard taken to make sure

January 2020 24 MN

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