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
58 Proceedings Winter 2015–2016 www.uscg.mil/proceedings The two fctional marine casualties mentioned were col- lisions occurring in the same area of a waterway on the same day of the week. While looking into such incidents, an investigator might identify other interconnecting fac- tors. For example, strong currents could have adversely affected one or more of the involved vessels, the crew might not have made radio calls between the ves- sels to arrange passing agreements, or fog might have been present. Any number of similarities might become evident during investigations. Just the Facts The key in looking for commonalities is to seek events that led to the marine casualty that also occurred on vessels in similar situ- ations. For example, the investigations of our fctional collisions might fnd that crews of both outbound vessels misinterpreted a radar contact or were unfamiliar with river current patterns in that stretch of the water- way. Such issues would be of note as com- monalities between the incidents. The investigator could produce an exhaus- tive list of similarities linking incidents to each other, but often the most simple inter- connecting criteria proves noteworthy. In the frst few moments of an incident briefng, start with the basic information passed, then advance to those facets of the investigation that require more probing. Vessels under comparable conditions may exhibit common characteristics that lead to marine casualties. These are the types of occurrences that should lead to trend anal- ysis endeavors, when they're found to take place with some frequency. Better Data Dr. James Dobbins was an engineering pro- fessor at Vanderbilt University when he con- ducted research analyzing marine casualties. Specifcally, his team sought to identify clus- ters of marine casualties in an effort to pin- point and chart the most hazardous locations on U.S. waterways. 2 Using information from U.S. Coast Guard databases stretching back as far as 1980, his study identifed areas where the historical records were defcient. Dr. Dobbins advised that 60 percent of marine casualty cases used for the study had no property damage amount figures, or they contained a zero in the corresponding data bank. Though this information must be reported to investigators, it was not always available in the public data extracts his studies utilized. Case Study, Sector Hampton Roads In 2013, Sector Hampton Roads had a series of marine casualties involving deep draft ships grounding while moored at the dock. Although these inci- dents were not at the same dock or even on the same waterway, they were, indeed, linked. Charted Depth Accuracy Sector personnel found that crews, agents, and waterfront facilities were relying on charted water depths rather than conducting more frequent surveys to determine actual waterway conditions. As a result, the Coast Guard issued a marine safety information bulletin cautioning facilities and marine employers in Sector Hampton Roads' area of responsibility to: • conduct berth hydrographic surveys and soundings at least once annu- ally and maintain survey records; • consider tidal variances at their berths and incorporate this into cargo loading plans; • become familiar with facilities' intended loading plans and consider how those plans may or may not address projected tidal changes and a vessel's draft; • question facility representatives regarding the currency and validity of hydrographic surveys and soundings prior to mooring at that facility; and • request the assistance of docking masters and assist tugs to scan water depths at berths prior to vessels mooring, especially if there is any doubt about draft clearance. Sector Hampton Roads' graphic depicting ship groundings from October to December 2013. Graphic provided courtesy of CDR Kevin Carroll, prevention department head, Sector Hampton Roads.