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General Aviation Safety
The M/V Delta Mariner, a cargo vessel carrying rocket components from the manufacturer in Decatur, Alabama, to Cape Canaveral, Florida, allided with Eggner’s Ferry Bridge on the Tennessee River on the night of January 26, 2012, near Aurora, Kentucky. As the vessel approached the bridge, the bridge team maneuvered the Delta Mariner away from the main navigation span and toward a span providing insufficient clearance for the vessel.1 The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) launched an investigation to determine why the allision occurred and to identify measures to prevent the occurrence of a similar accident. The NTSB identified several safety issues during the investigation: • Performance of the Delta Mariner bridge team and the contract pilot2 hired to assist them, including passage planning, their understanding of their roles and responsibilities, and their use of navigation equipment. • Effectiveness of the vessel’s safety management system and safety oversight by Foss Maritime Company, the owner of the vessel. • Maintenance of navigation lighting on Eggner’s Ferry Bridge, overall responsibility for inspection and repair of Kentucky bridge navigation lighting, and the role of the US Coast Guard related to navigation lighting on bridges over inland waterways and broadcast warnings to mariners about potential navigation hazards.
TO THE UNITED STATES COAST GUARD: Develop procedures to identify bridges having chronic navigation lighting problems and work with the states that own those bridges to rectify underlying problems in a timely manner.
Original recommendation transmittal letter:
Open - Acceptable Response
Aurora, KY, United States
Allision of the Cargo Vessel
M/V Delta Mariner
with Eggner’s Ferry Bridge
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status:
USCG (Open - Acceptable Response)
Safety Recommendation History
We note that the requirements to enter bridge lighting outages in your Marine Information for Safety and Law Enforcement (MISLE) data system, to notify bridge owners of reported outages, and to verify that reported discrepancies have been corrected are being included in a Bridge Program Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures publication. Pending completion of these efforts and our review of the publication, Recommendation M-13-7 is classified OPEN--ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE. We request that you expedite action to satisfy this recommendation.
-From Charles W. Ray, Vice Admiral, U.S. Coast Guard, Deputy Commandant for Operations: The requirements to enter bridge lighting outages in the Coast Guard’s Marine Information for Safety and Law Enforcement (MISLE) data system, to notify bridge owners of reported outages, and to verify that reported discrepancies have been corrected are being included in a Bridge Program Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures (TTP). This is ongoing.
This letter concerns 40 open safety recommendations that the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued to the US Coast Guard between 2002 and 2015. For several years, the NTSB received an annual update on all open safety recommendations issued to the Coast Guard; however, for 25 of the 40 recommendations listed, we have received no update in over 2 years regarding the status of action either taken or planned to address these important safety issues. We are interested in knowing whether and how our recommendations are implemented, both to ensure that the traveling public is provided the highest level of safety and to identify creative solutions that might be shared with others. Please respond to this letter electronically at email@example.com regarding your progress in addressing these safety recommendations, and do not submit both an electronic and a hard copy of the same response. To assist with your response, enclosure (1) is a list of the 40 recommendations highlighting the recommendation number, current status, source of the recommendation, and date of the last Coast Guard update; enclosure (2) is a print-out from our database with the complete correspondence history of each open recommendation.
We are encouraged that you will initiate a policy to require (1) that all bridge lighting outages reported to the Coast Guard be documented in your Marine Information for Safety and Law Enforcement data system and (2) that the bridge owner be notified. We note that this documentation will link the report with the specific bridge affected and its owner and will record when the Coast Guard was notified by the bridge owner that the lighting discrepancy was corrected. It will provide a record that will be able to be viewed and analyzed to identify any chronic lighting discrepancies concerning specific bridges and/or bridge owners. We also note that, should you determine that a specific bridge has a chronic lighting problem or that a bridge owner is not responsive to reported problems, you will have the documentation necessary for initiating civil penalty actions of increasing severity. Further, when a bridge owner notifies you that a reported discrepancy has been corrected, the district bridge program manager will request that the local Sector Commander arrange for a visual inspection of the bridge lighting after dark within the limits of his or her operational capabilities, to confirm that the lights are working properly. When completed, this action will satisfy Safety Recommendation M-13-7; accordingly, the recommendation is classified OPEN—ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.
-From Peter V. Neffenger, Vice Admiral, Deputy Commandant for Operations: I concur with this recommendation. The Coast Guard will initiate a policy to require that all bridge lighting outages reported to the Coast Guard be documented in its Marine Information for Safety and Law Enforcement (MISLE) data system and the bridge owner be notified. The MISLE documentation will include associating the report with the specific bridge affected and its owner, as well as a record of when the Coast Guard has received notification from the bridge owner that the lighting discrepancy has been repaired. This will result in a record of activities that can be viewed and analyzed to determine if there are chronic lighting discrepancies with specific bridges and/or bridge owners. In addition, if the Coast Guard determines that a bridge has a chronic lighting problem or that the bridge owner is not responsive to reported discrepancies, the Coast Guard will have documentation necessary to initiate Civil Penalty actions of increasing severity (Letter of Warning, Fines). Finally, when the bridge owner notifies the Coast Guard that a reported discrepancy has been corrected, the District Bridge Program Manager will request the Sector Commander responsible for the area of operations within which the bridge is located, to arrange for a visual inspection of the bridge lighting after dark within the limits of their operational capabilities to confirm the lights are watching properly. I will keep the board informed of our progress on this recommendation.
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