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
13 Winter 2015–2016 Proceedings www.uscg.mil/proceedings Time Away At about this time, I received orders to Marine Safety Unit Morgan City as the new chief of its inspections divi- sion. Though I was away from the INV-NCOE for a three-year tour, the team I'd painstakingly put together began to shine. They found themselves deeply involved with or leading a host of extremely high-profle marine casu- alties throughout the Western Hemi- sphere. Some cases that stood out: • the Kulluk grounding, • the Carnival Triumph fre, • the Carnival Splendor fre, • the Patrice McAllister fre, • the tank ship Elka Apollon/MSC Nederland collision. Following their handling of these cases, the staff developed a well-earned repu- tation for professionalism, experience, and commitment. Back at INV-NCOE After a successful tour in Morgan City, I returned to the INV-NCOE as the fourth national technical advisor and assistant supervisor. I found myself living every middle manager's dream, having just walked into a unit with a fully qualifed and seasoned staff who would never transfer. I quickly noted that the unit and our missions had changed slightly: Under my new supervisor, the INV-NCOE's cur- rent focus was to assist feld units with complicated cases without taking over the case, to provide more experience for feld investigation offcers. Another big change to operations is that we launch to any investigation involving the National Transportation Safety Board. Though we don't assume the lead on the investigation, we do help facilitate the working relationship between the local unit and the NTSB. For example, on November 4, 2014, the INV-NCOE was called to assist in the investigation of the Bahamas Celebra- tion allision that resulted in fooding, power loss, and the vessel's list to port. Because the Coast Guard was investi- gating the incident as a substantially interested state under International Maritime Organization protocols, the INV- NCOE provided jurisdiction for NTSB personnel to also attend the vessel. This process facilitated a quick investiga- tion that identifed a major passenger accountability issue aboard the vessel, and this interagency partnership model has continued to be very effective. The Takeaway All told, the INV-NCOE has been open for business for six very adventurous years. This unit stands ready to assist any unit or investigating offcer anywhere in the world. Just remember: When an investigation might be more than you can handle alone … who you gonna call? The U.S. Coast Guard Investigations National Center of Expertise — that's who. About the author: LCDR Willie Pittman completed Offcer Candidate School in December 1997 and has served in the Coast Guard for more than 20 years. He began his feld training in New Orleans, Louisiana, and has served as a marine casualty investigator and vessel inspector for the majority of his career. He was the frst member as well as the national technical advisor for the USCG Investigations National Center of Expertise in New Orleans, Louisiana. As a fully qualifed marine inspector, he serves as a subject matter expert for outer continental shelf, domestic, and foreign vessel material failure investigations. Coast Guard investigators from the Coast Guard Marine Safety Center and the Investigations National Center of Expertise examine the cruise ship Carnival Triumph's engine room to determine the cause of a fre that stranded the ship with its passengers for days in the Gulf of Mexico. U.S. Coast Guard photo by LT Jerry Federer.