Proceedings Of The Marine

WIN 2015

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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28 Proceedings Winter 2015–2016 Second, the investigations division at Marine Safety Unit (MSU) Texas City had been the lead on the investigation from the beginning, doing an excellent job, and here I come out of nowhere to step in and take over the lead. Most people would have some heartburn with that — I know I would — so I knew we would need to deal with that angst right away, because I was going to need them, and we would be working very closely together for the foreseeable future. I made frst contact with the MSU Texas City investigations chief during the fve-hour drive over to the unit. He came right out and said, "I'm not going to lie — I am a little hurt about it." I gave him high marks for bringing it up so we could talk about it, and I knew right then that we would be fne … and we were. When I showed up at the unit, beyond providing me with an offce, they also supplied all the sup- port and assistance I could hope for. Tech Support We had audio playback of several key communications that we wanted to have available during the hearing. Though all parties of interest had their own transcripts, unfortunately that didn't mean they were all in agreement regarding what was said. We felt it would be best to have the original audio available to try to avoid such discussions. Luckily, our designated recorder also happened to be an IT wizard. On the Friday before the hearing, we visited the courtroom to make sure everything was set up the way we wanted and to do one last audio/visual equipment check. Despite our best efforts, we still had some diffculty with the audio feed during the hearing, but at that point, all we could do was press on. Time Management I was fortunate to have a well-seasoned and very capa- ble assistant senior investigating offcer (ASIO) who held On April 4, 2014, I conducted a formal major marine casu- alty investigation as the lead investigating offcer alongside National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) personnel. Since the investigation is still open, I'll focus on what went well and investigation lessons learned rather than the inci- dent itself. Challenges I already had two immediate challenges to address upon assignment as the lead investigating offcer. First, the inves- tigation wasn't designated "formal" until two weeks after the incident, putting me two weeks behind. A formal inves- tigation is convened for the more serious or signifcant inci- dents investigated under 46 USC Chapter 63 from which the most value can be gained. A lot of things happen in the frst few hours after an incident, and that much more in two weeks, so I had my work cut out for me to get up to speed as quickly as I could. Marine Formal Board of Investigation A lead investigating offcer's perspective. by LCDR teResa hatFieLD Chief, Investigations Division U.S. Coast Guard Sector New Orleans Investigations National Center of Expertise Here we listen to testimony. That's me — top row, center. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Offcer Andrew Kendrick.

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