Proceedings magazine is a communication tool for the Coast Guard's Marine Safety & Security Council. Each quarterly magazine focuses on a specific theme of interest to the marine industry.
Issue link: http://uscgproceedings.epubxp.com/i/617100
9 Winter 2015–2016 Proceedings www.uscg.mil/proceedings After the initial search and rescue efforts, the Coast Guard requested travel clearance for USCG and NTSB casualty investigators to attend the accident scene, but they had to wait more than fve weeks to get approval. Furthermore, the investigators' efforts were hindered by the extremely limited information the Mexican government shared with them regarding the initial search efforts — information that could've been valuable to the accident investigation. As a result of this limited information and the travel delay, their efforts were severely hampered. Though Coast Guard investigators may be familiar with the investigation process and the local area, other coun- tries and/or states have their own investigative processes and procedures. For that reason, INV-NCOE personnel have worked to ease such challenges by ensuring that all involved parties understand their respective roles in the process and everyone reports on their process in the investigation. International Partnerships In addition to fostering improved working partnerships with border governments, INV-NCOE staff members have demonstrated their unique ability to interact with and estab- lish working relationships with international partners. In one of the largest passenger shipwrecks in modern times, the Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia hit an underwater reef on the evening of January 2012 and partially sank in the Italian coastal waters of the Mediterranean Sea. As part of the high-profle, multinational investigation that quickly ensued, the USCG Investigations National Center of Exper- tise quickly joined forces with NTSB investigators to become an integral part of the incident's U.S. representation. After the accident, INV-NCOE investigators offered tech- nical expertise and support to the government of Italy's When a major marine casualty 1 occurs, there are numerous international, federal, state, and local agencies poised and ready to engage at a moment's notice. Since its inception in late 2009, the USCG Investigations National Center of Exper- tise (INV-NCOE) has progressively forged strong partner- ships with such agencies to make the most of the specialized expertise and resources each brings to the table. Closing the Divide One such example involves the Coast Guard's investiga- tion of the loaded tank vessel Eagle Otome. On the morning of January 23, 2010, the vessel allided with the tank vessel Gull Arrow and a tank barge. As a result, the Eagle Otome ran aground, resulting in a major crude oil spill of more than 460,000 gallons in the port of Port Arthur, Texas, about 90 miles east of Houston. 2 In addition to National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) marine casualty investigators, the INV-NCOE was notifed, and personnel immediately sprang into action. The incident laid the foundation for what proved to be the beginning of a long-lasting partnership between the two agencies, and the ensuing investigation showcased the INV-NCOE's con- tribution to harmonious investigations that stretch across multijurisdictional boundaries. Though having pre-established relationships signifcantly improves marine casualty investigation effectiveness, the practice doesn't come without its challenges, as a Septem- ber 2011 investigation proved. A U.S.-fagged liftboat was 15 nautical miles offshore in the Bay of Campeche in the Gulf of Mexico when it sustained hurricane damage. The crew of 10 abandoned the vessel and clung to a life foat. Three days passed before nine of the 10 crewmembers were rescued. Only six survived. Four days later, the body of the tenth crewmember was recovered. 3 INV-NCOE Agency Partnerships Established relationships leverage efforts. by LCDR yanCee MCLeMoRe Program Manager, Suspension and Revocation U.S. Coast Guard Offce of Marine Casualty Investigations and Analysis Overview