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NTSB Releases Safer Seas Digest 2019


The National Transportation Safety Board has released its annual Safer Seas Digest for 2019. The publication examines marine accidents investigated by the NTSB in the previous year, looking at causes and drawing lessons learned for professional mariners and other professionals concerned with safety in the marine transportation industries.


The NTSB investigates accidents, "involving vessels that result in one or more of the following:

  • The loss of six or more lives.

  • The loss of a mechanically propelled vessel of 100 or more gross tons.

  • Property damage initially estimated as $500,000 or more.

  • Serious threat, as determined by the USCG commandant and concurred with by the NTSB chairman, to life, property, or the environment by hazardous materials."

This year's edition examines 30 marine accidents involving vessels as varied as commercial fishing boats, tow boats, barges, cruise ships, cargo vessels, and even a U.S. Navy destroyer. The safety issues examined include:

  • Organizational Oversight

  • Fatigue

  • Master/Pilot Exchange

  • Proper Navigation

  • Dynamic Risk Assessment

  • Proper Lookout

  • Early Communication Prior to and During Emergency Situations

  • Heavy Weather Conditions

  • Seafloor Hazards in Undersea Operations

  • Effective Hull and Structural Component Inspection & Maintenance

  • Watertight Integrity and Subdivision

  • Fire Protection During Hot Work

  • Securing Ventilation and Openings During a Fire

  • Remote Fuel Oil and Lube Oil Cut-Off Valves

  • Labeling of Alarms

Examining your own vessel's operation in light of the misfortunes of others can be instructive. Given the common hazards of the marine environment, the Safer Sears Digest contains lessons for every mariner. You can download a PDF copy of the Safer Seas Digest 2019 here.

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