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
59 Winter 2015–2016 Proceedings www.uscg.mil/proceedings The team also noted problems with incident location infor- mation. Dr. Dobbins stated, "It was hoped that the coor- dinate data would be precise enough to identify a bridge pier or lock wall as commonly involved in allisions, as an example. Ostensibly from manual typos, several coordinates were transposed or incorrect." 3 Due to some instances of poor data, casualties more than three miles from any water- way were discarded. Dr. Dobbins further noted, "In recent years location accu- racy has signifcantly improved in U.S. Coast Guard marine casualty fles." 4 With an eye toward continuous improve- ment, Coast Guard personnel have developed new informa- tion quality guidelines, policies, and job aids and stressed the need for improved data entry during marine casualty investigator training at U.S. Coast Guard Training Center Yorktown. Moving Forward It's impossible to engineer a system that will prevent all marine casualties. As defined, marine casualties are Case Study, Morgan City For many years, ships navigating in southern Louisiana along the lower section of the Atchafalaya River had to take special precautions when transiting the "horseshoe," a compact river bend. The water slows in this area and drops sediment. As the sediment built up, the charted channel narrowed, groundings became more frequent, and the channel required frequent dredging. A Money-Saving Project To remedy these problems, the Port of Morgan City approached the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers and the U.S. Coast Guard to move the channel. The $4 million project took several years to complete and involved armoring one side of the river against erosion due to the increased wave action from traf- fcking vessels. While $4 million may seem like a lot of money, the project will save much more than that down the road. According to Raymond Wade, Port of Morgan City's executive director, it cost nearly $10 million to dredge and maintain the horseshoe during the 7-year period immediately preceding the project. Further, the resultant channel reduces the trip from of fshore to and from Morgan City by approximately three miles, which saves transiting ships both fuel and time. In more good news, Wade noted no new vessel groundings in the area, and the new portion of the waterway is self- scouring, so it maintains itself without any required regular dredging. accidents — and accidents happen every day. But through conducting simple trend analysis studies and seeking to identify and eliminate hazardous conditions that lead to marine casualties, we can realize a signifcant decrease in accidents. Acknowledgement: Special thanks to Mr. Paul Ledoux, senior investigating offcer, Sector Hampton Roads, for his assistance. About the author: CDR Blake Welborn is a 1993 graduate of the Coast Guard Offcer Candi- date School. A career prevention offcer, his service includes command cadre positions at marine safety units and training tours in vessel inspections, casualty investigations, and incident response management. CDR Welborn holds a master's degree in quality systems management. Endnotes: 1. John Bender (performed by Judd Nelson), "The Breakfast Club," Universal Pic- tures, 1985. 2. Dr. James Dobbins, personal communication, Mar. 16, 2015. 3. Ibid. 4. Ibid. Graphics provided courtesy of Mrs. Cindy Cutrera, Port of Morgan City.