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.
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23 Winter 2015–2016 Proceedings www.uscg.mil/proceedings during the frst hours of an investigation, as some systems are time-dependent and should be shut down to avoid cru- cial information being overwritten. Navigation Incident Basics With regard to investigating navigational incidents, bridge technology holds a wealth of information. For example, information from vessels ftted with an integrated bridge system, simplifed voyage data recorder (S-VDR), or voyage data recorder (VDR) can greatly assist in casualty investi- gations. These are typically the frst items of critical time- dependent electronic evidence investigators gather. Voyage data recorders, widely regarded as a vessel's "black box," continuously record chronological records of pre- selected data items, such as: • ship's position, speed, and heading; • bridge audio; • VHF radio communications; • radar data; At times, marine investigators may become overwhelmed with the amount of on-scene information to collect, espe- cially as ships and maritime platforms increasingly develop in innovation. However, the basics remain the same: Inves- tigators should remember to methodically navigate through the incident details and causal factors prior to and when responding to a marine casualty. Investigators must also be cognizant of their jurisdictional authority described in Title 46, United States Code (U.S.C.), Chapters 61 and 63; as well as Title 46, Code of Federal Regu- lations (CFR), Part 4 when gathering evidence. In any case in which an investigator desires to collect electronic evidence, the investigator should be able to articulate the relevance of that evidence to the investigation. Timeline Basics First and foremost, investigators should establish a baseline time to reconcile the various ship systems and permit direct comparison between the times recorded on such items as navigational systems and recorders, alarms, closed-circuit television, automation and control systems, and other electronic systems and computers. Investigators normally use the Global Position- ing System (GPS), Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS), or the ship's master clock as the baseline time, with the other systems corrected to adjust to the established baseline time. For example, if the time on a ship system is fve minutes behind the established baseline time, fve minutes would need to be added to the ship system's time to cor- rect to the baseline time. This would be refected as + 0:05:00. Incident and Equipment Basics Another important step in gathering evidence items is examining the big picture. When it comes to elec- tronic evidence, the devil is always in the details, so investigators should use a systematic approach to identify the controlling and monitoring systems Electronic Evidence Focus on the basics. by MR. MaRC DeJesus Marine Investigator U.S. Coast Guard Investigations National Center of Expertise Investigations National Center of Expertise Bridge control systems. U.S. Coast Guard photo.