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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation M-83-050
Details
Synopsis: ON FEBRUARY 12, 1983, THE U.S. BULK CARRIER MARINE ELECTRIC CAPSIZED AND SANK DURING A STORM IN THE ATLANTIC OCEAN ABOUT 30 NAUTICAL MILES EAST OF CHINCOTEAGUE, VIRGINIA. THIRTY-FOUR PERSONS WERE ON BOARD. THREE PERSONS SURVIVED THE ACCIDENT AND THE BODIES OF 24 PERSONS WERE RECOVERED. THE REMAINING SEVEN PERSONS ARE MISSING AND PRESUMED DEAD. THE MARINE ELECTRIC CURRENTLY IS RESTING ON THE BOTTOM OF THE OCEAN IN TWO PIECES IN ABOUT 120 FEET OF WATER; ITS ESTIMATED VALUE WAS $12 MILLION. A JOINT NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD/U.S. COAST GUARD INVESTIGATION OF THIS ACCIDENT IS STILL IN PROGRESS.
Recommendation: THE NTSB RECOMMENDS THAT THE U.S. COAST GUARD: CONDUCT A DESIGN STUDY TO DETERMINE THE ADEQUACY OF EXISTING BOARDING SYSTEMS OF U.S. COAST GUARD-APPROVED INFLATABLE LIFERAFTS REGARDING THE MARKING OF THE LOCATION AND EASE OF RIGGING OF BOARDING LADDERS OR EQUIVALENT, AND THE ABILITY OF PERSONS IN THE WATER, INCLUDING THOSE WEARING EXPOSURE SUITS, TO USE THE BOARDING LADDER AND HAND HOLDS OR EQUIVALENT, AND REQUIRE DESIGN CHANGES ENCOMPASSING BOTH NEW AND EXISTING LIFERAFTS FOUND TO HAVE INADEQUATE BOARDING SYSTEMS.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Alternate Action
Mode: Marine
Location: Atlantic Ocean, AO, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: DCA83AM031
Accident Reports: United States Bulk Carrier Marine Electric Capsizing and Sinking About 30 Nautical Miles East of Chincoteague, Virginia
Report #: MAR-84-01
Accident Date: 2/12/1983
Issue Date: 7/18/1983
Date Closed: 5/1/1997
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: USCG (Closed - Acceptable Alternate Action)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: USCG
Date: 5/1/1997
Response: THE BOARD HAS REVIEWED THE NEW INFO THAT REAR ADMIRAL ALLEN PROVIDED & FINDS THAT THE USCG ACTIONS IN IMPLEMENTING RECOMMENDATION M-72-17 & -24, M-74-25, M-83-50 & M-87-35, ALTHOUGH NOT TIMELY, ARE NONETHELESS SATISFACTORY. HOWEVER, BECAUSE SO MUCH TIME HAS ELAPSED SINCE THESE RECOMMENDATIONS WERE ISSUED, FROM 9 TO 24 YEARS, THE BOARD BELIEVES THAT AN "ACCEPTABLE ACTIONS TAKEN SATISFY THE INTENT OF THE RECOMMENDED ACTION & IMPROVE MARINE SAFETY. CONSEQUENTLY, THE BOARD BELIEVES THAT "ACCEPTABLE ALTERNATE ACTION" IS THE MOST APPROPRIATE CLASSIFICATION FOR EACH THESE RECOMMENDATIONS. THE BOARD IS PLEASED THAT THE USCG WAS INVOLVED IN NUMEROUS TESTS WHICH DEMONSTRATED THE SUITABILITY OF NEW BOARDING RAMPS FOR PERSONS WEARING EITHER LIFEJACKETS OR IMMERSION SUITS AS REQUESTED. FURTHER, BECAUSE THE 1983 AMENDMENTS TO SOLAS 74, WHICH INCLUDE THE REQUIREMENT THAT ALL NEW LIFERAFTS HAVE BOARDING RAMPS, HAVE BEEN INCORPORATED INTO THE NEW 46 CFR SUBCHAPTER W, EFFECTIVE 10/1/96, M-83 -50 HAS BEEN CLASSIFIED "CLOSED--ACCEPTABLE ALTERNATE ACTION."

From: USCG
To: NTSB
Date: 10/18/1996
Response: USCG IS ASKING FOR RECONSIDERATION OF THE 'CUA" STATUS OF THIS RECOMMENDATION BASED ON THE FOLLOWING ACTION: WITH THE SUPPORT OF THE U.S. & OTHER COUNTRIES, THE 1983 AMENDMENTS TO THE 1974 SOLAS CONVENTION INCLUDED A NEW REQUIREMENT FOR INFLATABLE LIFERAFTS TO BE FITTED WITH A "SIMI-RIGID BOARDING RAMP TO ENABLE PERSONS TO BOARD THE LIFERAFT FROM THE SEA." THIS NEW REQUIREMENT REPLACED THE PREVIOUS GENERAL REQUIREMENT FOR "AN EFFICIENT MEANS TO ALLOW PERSONS IN THE WATER TO CLIMB ON BOARD", & BECAME EFFECTIVE IN 1986 FOR NEW LIFERAFT COMPLYING WITH SOLAS. ALL NEW LIFERAFTS ON INSPECTED VESSEL MUST COMPLY WITH SOLAS REQUIREMENTS, & THUS MUST INCLUDE BOARDING RAMPS. NUMEROUS TESTS HAVE DEMONSTRATED THE SUITABILITY OF THESE NEW RAMPS FOR PERSON WEARING EITHER LIFEJACKETS OR IMMERSION SUITS. THE INTERIM RULE ON LIFESAVING EQUIPMENT, WHICH ADDRESSES THIS RECOMMENDATION, WAS PUBLISHED IN THE FEDERAL REGISTER, VOL. 61, NO.98 ON 5/20/96, WITH AN EFFECTIVE DATE OF 10/1/96. THE USCG REQUESTS THAT THE STATUS OF THIS RECOMMENDATION BE CHANGED TO CLOSED ACCEPTABLE ACTION (CAA).

From: NTSB
To: USCG
Date: 4/16/1996
Response: BECAUSE THERE HAS NO FURTHER RESPONSE FROM THE USCG ON THIS ISSUE & GIVEN THE AGE OF THE RECOMMENDATION, M-83-50 HAS BEEN CLASSIFIED "CLOSED--UNACCEPTABLE ACTION."

From: NTSB
To: USCG
Date: 11/28/1994
Response: REMINDER TO USCG OF PENDING ACTION.

From: NTSB
To: USCG
Date: 12/23/1993
Response: BECAUSE THE USCG IS ACTIVELY PURSUING THIS INITIATIVE, RECOMMENDATION M-83-50 HAS BEEN CLASSIFIED "OPEN--ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE" PENDING PUBLICATION OF THE FINAL RULES.

From: USCG
To: NTSB
Date: 8/20/1993
Response: SEE BOARD REPLY BELOW

From: USCG
To: NTSB
Date: 4/13/1987
Response:

From: NTSB
To: USCG
Date: 9/5/1984
Response: The Safety Board is pleased that the Coast Guard will incorporate the more stringent requirements of the second set of amendments to the Safety of Life at Sea Convention, 1974 (SOLAS 1974) relating to Lifesaving Systems and Arrangements in a regulatory project. These requirements should greatly improve the boarding systems for inflatable lifeboats and allow for easy access by persons in the water. The Safety Board has placed Safety Recommendation M-83-50 in a status of “Open--Acceptable Action" pending completion of the regulatory project and would appreciate being advised when the revised requirements become effective.

From: USCG
To: NTSB
Date: 3/2/1984
Response: USCG LETTER: THE COAST GUARD CONCURS WITH THIS RECOMMENDA TION. HOWEVER, A STUDY OF THE EXISTING BOARDING SYSTEMS IS NOT NECESSARY. IMPROVEMENT OF THE EXISTING BOARDING REQUIREMENTS IS NEEDED AND WILL BE UNDERTAKEN AS PART OF THE COAST GUARD'S PROJECT TO INCORPORATE THE PROVISIONS OF THE SECOND SET OF AMENDMENTS TO THE SAFETY OF LIFE AT SEA CONVENTION, 1974 (SOLAS 1974) WHICH INCLUDE A COMPLETELY REVISED CHAPTER III ON LIFESAVING SYSTEMS AND ARRANGEMENTS. THE AMENDMENTS ARE SCHEDULED TO COME INTO FORCE ON JULY 1986. THE FOLLOWING IS AN EXCERPT FROM THE NEW SOLAS REQUIREMENTS PERTAINING TO BOARDING ARRANGEMENTS FOR INFLATABLE LIFERAFTS: 4.1 AT LEAST ONE ENTRANCE SHALL BE FITTED WITH A SEMI-RIGID BOARDING RAMP TO ENABLE PERSONS TO BOARD THE LIFERAFT FROM THE SEA SO ARRANGED AS TO PREVENT SIGNIFICANT DEFLATION OF THE LIFERAFT IF THE RAMP IS DAMAGED. IN THE CASE OF A DAVIT-LAUNCHED LIFERAFT HAVING MORE THAN ONE ENTRANCE, THE BOARDING RAMP SHALL BE FITTED AT THE ENTRANCE OPPOSITE THE BOWSING LINES AND EMBARKATION FACILITIES. 4.2 ENTRANCES NOT PROVIDED WITH A BOARDING RAMP SHALL HAVE A BOARDING LADDER, THE LOWEST STEP OF WHICH SHALL BE SITUATED NOT LESS THAN O.4 M BELOW THE LIFERAFT'S LIGHT WATERLINE. 4.3 THERE SHALL BE MEANS INSIDE THE LIFERAFT TO ASSIST PERSONS TO PULL THEMSELVES INTO THE LIFERAFT FROM THE LADDER. WE INTEND TO REQUIRE THAT THE RAFT BE MARKED WITH LABELS INDICATING THE LOCATION OF THE BOARDING RAMP, WHICH WILL BE THE PREFERRED ENTRANCE. THERE SHOULD BE NO DIFFICULTY WITH RIGGING THE MEANS FOR BOARDING SINCE THE BOARDING RAMP WILL DEPLOY AUTOMATICALLY WHEN THE RAFT IS INFLATED. ALL BOARDING LADDERS ARE "RIGGED" WHEN THE RAFT INFLATES. SINCE BOARDING LADDERS ARE FLEXIBLE, THEY WILL LAY FLAT ON THE TUBES OF THE RAFT, HOWEVER, IT MAY BE POSSIBLE TO MAKE THE RUNGS OF THE LADDER STIFFER AND EASIER TO USE. THIS WILL BE CONSIDERED FOR INCLUSION IN THE PROPOSED REGULATION AMENDMENTS THAT WILL INCORPORATE THE SOLAS CHANGES. WE WILL ALSO CONSIDER REQUIRING IMPROVEMENT OF BOARDING LADDERS AND RETROFITTING BOARDING RAMPS ON EXISTING LIFERAFTS. WE HAVE INFORMALLY EVALUATED THE EASE OF BOARDING A LIFERAFT IN THREE TO FOUR FOOT WAVES WHILE WEARING DIFFERENT TYPES OF FLOTATION DEVICES. THE GENERAL CONCLUSION IS THAT IT IS EASIER TO BOARD A LIFERAFT WHILE WEARING AN EXPOSURE SUIT THAN IT IS WHILE WEARING A LIFE JACKET. PERSONS IN EXPOSURE SUITS LIE ON THE WATER HORIZONTALLY IN A POSITION WHERE THEY CAN MORE EASILY PULL THEMSELVES INTO THE RAFT.