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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation M-02-010
Details
Synopsis: On the evening of November 17, 2000, the U.S. small passenger vessel Port Imperial Manhattan, with three crewmembers and eight passengers on board, was en route to Weehawken, New Jersey, from the borough of Manhattan in New York City, New York, when a fire broke out in the engine room. Crewmembers attempted to extinguish the fire with portable extinguishers, with no success. The fire burned out of control, causing the vessel to lose power and forcing the crew and passengers to abandon the interior spaces. The crew and passengers were rescued by another NY Waterway passenger vessel, and the burning vessel was towed to Manhattan, where the New York City Fire Department extinguished the fire. One passenger was treated for smoke inhalation. No deaths resulted from this accident. The estimated cost to repair the vessel was $1.2 million.
Recommendation: TO THE UNITED STATES COAST GUARD: Revise Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular No. 1-91 so that it provides more in-depth guidance in training and drills for firefighting on board small passenger vessels.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Unacceptable Action
Mode: Marine
Location: River, NY, United States
Is Reiterated: Yes
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: DCA01MM008
Accident Reports:
Fire on Board the Small Passenger Vessel Port Imperial Manhattan
Report #: MAR-02-02
Accident Date: 11/17/2000
Issue Date: 7/3/2002
Date Closed: 6/12/2009
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: USCG (Closed - Unacceptable Action)
Keyword(s): Firefighting, Training and Education

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: USCG
Date: 6/12/2009
Response: The NTSB notes that the Coast Guard met with representatives from the PVA in January 2008 and consulted with their leadership regarding the safety recommendations to revise Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular No. 1-91 (NVIC 1-91) to provide more in-depth firefighting training and guidance and to provide detailed guidance on crowd control management procedures. The NTSB further notes that this meeting also addressed the issue of revising 46 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Subchapter B, Merchant Marine Officers and Seamen, to establish firefighting requirements for crewmembers on small passenger vessels. The NTSB is disappointed to learn that as a result of the PVA meetings, the Coast Guard has decided not to revise NVIC 1-91, as requested, or 46 CFR Subchapter B, believing that the current general guidance in NVIC 1-91 is sufficient. In previous correspondence, the NTSB explained its rationale for the requested revisions to the NVIC and regulation. Despite these explanations, the Coast Guard has not changed its position. Accordingly, because the Coast Guard has made it clear that it believes the general guidance in NVIC 1-91 and Subchapter B, as currently written, is sufficient and intends to take no further action on these issues, Safety Recommendations M-02-10 and -12 and M-06-10 are classified CLOSED—UNACCEPTABLE ACTION.

From: USCG
To: NTSB
Date: 2/13/2009
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 2/20/2009 11:29:34 AM MC# 2090084: Status: In response to recommendations M-02-10 and M-06-10,we mct with representatives from the Passenger Vessel Association (PVA) in January 2008 and consultcd with their leadership regarding the Board’s recommendation to revise Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular (NVIC) 1-91 to include detailed guidance for the small passenger vessel industry and more in-depth guidance in training and drills for firefighting on board small passenger vessels. Based on the consensus rcached by those in attendance, we decidcd to keep the guidance in NVIC 1-91 general in nature, which allows the small passenger vcssel industry the flexibility to develop and tailor the training and firefighting drills to the specific nccds of each small passenger vessel. We will continue to work with the PVA and play an active role in assessing qualificatiodtraining programs and evaluating crews’ ability to conduct firefighting and abandon vessel drills during required inspections. We consider our action on this recommendation complete and request that it be closed.

From: USCG
To: NTSB
Date: 10/8/2007
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 10/18/2007 11:20:45 AM MC# 2070586: THIS LETTER IS FROM THE GULF COAST MARINERS ASSOCIATION, IT IS NOT FROM THE UNITED STATES COAST GUARD, WHO IS THE RECIPIENT OF SAFETY RECOMMENDATION M-02-010: -From Richard A. Block, Secretary, Gulf Coast Mariners Association: Thank you for your reply of September 4, 2007 to my letter of June 17, 2007 which brings me up to date on recommendations M-02-009 and M-02-0l0. Our Association supports your recommendations. I am pleased to see that your agency has drawn a line in the sand on the preventive maintenance issue. Our Association also picked up this issue in GCMA Report #R-441 [Enclosure #1]. In our June 17th letter, I mentioned that the Merchant Marine Personnel Advisory Committee (MERPAC) was looking into NVIC 1-91 and 1-95 in their Task Statement #55. At their meeting early this September, they did look at these two NVICs and came out with a document I enclose as [Enclosure #2]. Since I did not attend the meeting, I cannot say whether the Coast Guard's Executive Director ever made the committee aware of NTSB interest in NVIC 1-91 for small passenger vessels. In any event, even if MERPACs "recommendations" changed the NYICs, I fail to see where any NYIC or any voluntary program accepted by only a portion of the industry (e.g., PYA members) no matter how well intentioned can substitute for an enforceable safety management system. During its long tenure in control of marine safety, the Coast Guard completely overlooked the need to train "engineers" to care for various mechanical systems found on small vessels ranging from small passenger vessels to towing vessels, to offshore supply boats up to 200 tons. There are no training requirements; there is little if any formal training; there are no "schools." This helps explain why "preventive maintenance" fell through the cracks. You would think that the Coast Guard, as a "military" service would understand the need for preventive maintenance. However, at the highest levels, their correspondence to NTSB shows that they "just don't get it." Your Agency apparently has been willing to question the Coast Guard's mismanagement of preventive maintenance in the small vessel industry. Just wait until they look into the "uninspected" towing industry they ignored for the past 35 years. The Coast Guard is lacking in practical experience with the types of vessels our mariners serve on as brought out in the Congressional hearing on August 2, 2007. Look at the LADY D accident, for example, where the Coast Guard "experts" didn't even know how to perform a proper stability test. They still have not solved the problem over three years later! Lifesaving equipment. On August 2, 2007, I presented oral and written testimony to the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee on "The Problems Facing the Coast Guard's Marine Safety Program." In that testimony, I listed a number of reports our Association sent to Congress over the past three or four years because we were unable to make any progress with the Coast Guard. Our mariners have little confidence in the Coast Guard's ability to address questions affecting an industry they have never worked in and often do not understand. Consequently, I question the wisdom of your Agency's increasing dependence upon hiring former Coast Guard members in lieu of experienced merchant marine personnel. Near the top of my list in the Congressional testimony was the following report: - GCMA Report #R-354, Rev.I. Nov. 19,2006. A Direct Appeal to Congress on Lifesaving Issues Affecting Lower-Level Mariners. [Comment: In 1986, the NTSB asked the Coast Guard to eliminate survival craft that were not designed to keep survivors from entering the water. We ask that Congress not postpone this requirement to 2013 to mollify manufacturers because these basic lifesaving issues need immediate Congressional oversight to overcome years of Coast Guard's procrastination.}. I enclose a copy of this report as [Enclosure #3]. During the 1960s, I operated (and later owned) a number of passenger ferries. These vessels ran from April through November in New York. When these vessels were loaded at or near their legal capacity with passengers and baggage, there was hardly any room to move. They were so crowded that a deckhand, even if properly trained, could not reach the scene of a fire, control flooding, or even access the engines to take steps to control a runaway diesel engine as I have done. Recent accidents on the LADY D, MISS MAJESTIC, and ETHAN ALLEN all occurred on crowded or even over-crowded vessels. However, I am particularly concerned about having young children, elderly people, and non-swimmers who are passengers on these vessels be forced to enter the water in an emergency. The NTSB in the 1985 PILGRIM BELLE accident made reasonable assumptions as to what might happen in case of a vessel sinking and the need for out-or-water survival craft. However, the 1904 fire on the General Slocum is indicative of what could happen with a fire on any crowded ferry, excursion or dinner boat because it brings up the question of where would the people go. I urge you to reiterate the findings of the PILGRIM BELLE until the Coast Guard gets the message! In conclusion, I urge you to continue to ask reasonable questions and expect reasonable answers in your quest for small passenger vessel safety and seek staff members with experience in working in the industry.

From: NTSB
To: USCG
Date: 4/19/2007
Response: The Safety Board is pleased that the Coast Guard plans to consult with the small passenger vessel industry to consider revision of NVIC 1-91 to include more in-depth guidance in training and drills for firefighting on board small passenger vessels. Accordingly, pending a further response from the Coast Guard on its progress on this issue, Safety Recommendation M-02-10 is classified OPEN—ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: USCG
To: NTSB
Date: 10/12/2006
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 10/23/2006 1:59:45 PM MC# 2060526:As mentioned in our response to safety recommendation M-06-10 above, we will consult with the passenger vessel industry and consider revising NVIC 1-91 to include more in-depth guidance in training and drills for firefighting.

From: NTSB
To: USCG
Date: 4/4/2006
Response: On April 4, 2006, in the Express Shuttle II report, the Safety Board reiterated Safety Recommendations M-02-5 and -10, noting that: The Coast Guard's response letter of November 24, 2003, stated that it did not concur with Safety Recommendation M-02-10 because NVIC 1-91 was intended only to give general guidance to marine employers and masters and that it intended to take no further action. On April 7, 2005, the Safety Board responded that NVIC 1-91 "provides the Coast Guard's only guidance to the small passenger vessel industry concerning fire training and qualifications of deckhands. and that the list of tasks in the NVIC provides no guidance to deckhands on what they need to know in an emergency, what their responsibilities are . . . or reference to further information, guidance or instruction." Pending further action by the Coast Guard, the Board classified Safety Recommendation M-02-10 as OPEN—UNACCEPTABLE RESPONSE. The Board continues to believe that NVIC 1-91 should provide detailed guidance, rather than only a list of tasks, regarding training and drills for firefighting on board small passenger vessels. The Board therefore reiterates Safety Recommendation M-02-10.

From: NTSB
To: USCG
Date: 4/7/2005
Response: The Safety Board notes that the purpose of NVIC 1-91 is to provide guidelines for the recommended qualifications and training for crewmembers on small passenger vessels; it is not intended to be all encompassing or to provide an in-depth curriculum for training and drills. NVIC 1-91 is a general guide for marine employers and masters of small passenger vessels to use when structuring training programs for deckhands that allows for training programs to be tailored to the specific needs of each small passenger vessel. NVIC 1-91, which currently provides the Coast Guard's only guidance to the small passenger vessel industry concerning fire training and qualifications of deckhands on small passenger vessels, contains merely a general outline of subject areas that deckhands should "be familiar with" rather than detailed guidance. The Safety Board's investigation of the fires on the small passenger vessels Port Imperial Manhattan and Seastreak New York demonstrated that improved fire safety would be achieved by providing more in-depth guidance in training and drills for firefighting on board small passenger vessels, rather than simply listing tasks that a deckhand should be familiar with in the event of an emergency, such as proper recovery technique, fire detection and alarm systems, mustering passengers, and station bill assignments/duties. This list of tasks provides no guidance to deckhands on what they need to know in an emergency, what their responsibilities are, nor does it provide any reference to further information, guidance or instruction. The Board continues to believe that NVIC 1-91, as the Coast Guard's primary guidance for recommended qualifications for small passenger vessel deckhands, should provide detailed guidance. Accordingly, pending further action by the Coast Guard on this recommendation, Safety Recommendation M-02-10 is classified OPEN—UNACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: USCG
To: NTSB
Date: 11/21/2003
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 11/24/2003 12:14:53 PM MC# 2030577 We do not concur with this recommendation. The purpose of Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular l-91 is to provide guidelines for the recommended qualifications and training for crewmembers on small passenger vessels. It is not intended to be all encompassing or to provide an in-depth curriculum for training and drills. It is a general guide for marine employers and masters of small passenger vessels to use when structuring training programs for deckbands. This allows for flexibility in the development of training programs so they can be tailored to the specific needs of each small passenger vessel. We intend to take no further action on this recommendation and request that it be closed.