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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation M-83-051
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: REEVALUATE THE WATER TEMPERATURE ANALYSIS UNDERLYING THE COAST GUARD'S PROPOSAL TO EXEMPT VESSELS OPERATING BETWEEN 35 DEGREES NORTH LATITUDE AND 35 DEGREES SOUTH LATITUDE AND ON THE U.S. OUTER CONTINENTAL SHELF IN THE ATLANTIC OCEAN SOUTH OF 38 DEGREES NORTH LATITUDE FROM BEING REQUIRED TO CARRY EXPOSURE SUITS, AND MODIFY THE PROPOSAL AS APPROPRIATE TO LIMIT THE EXEMPTION TO THOSE AREAS WHERE THE WATER IS ABOVE 60 DEGREES FARENHEIT THROUGHOUT THE YEAR.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable 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: 9/5/1984
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: USCG (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: USCG
Date: 9/5/1984
Response: The Coast Guard’s decision not to exempt any vessels operating on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf in the Atlantic Ocean north of 35’ north latitude from being required to carry exposure suits meets the intent of this recommendation. Recommendation M-83-51 has, therefore, Safety been placed in a status of “Closed-- Acceptable Action.”

From: USCG
To: NTSB
Date: 3/2/1984
Response: USCG LETTER: THE COAST GUARD CONCURS WITH THIS RECOMMENDATION. THE 35 DEGREES NORTH AND 35 DEGREES SOUTH LATITUDE LIMIT ON THE OUTER CONTINENTAL SHELF (OCS) OF THE UNITED STATES WERE INTENDED TO DEFINE AN AREA FOR THE EXEMPTION WHERE WATER TEMPERATURE IS USUALLY ABOVE 60 DEGREES F. THE MARINE ELECTRIC WAS IN THIS AREA WHEN IT SANK, AND ALL BUT THREE OF THE CREW DIED IN THE 40 DEGREES F (APPROXIMATE) WATER. ALTHOUGH THE GULF STREAM KEEPS ATLANTIC OCEAN WATER AT 38 DEGREES NORTH NEAR OR ABOVE 60 DEGREES F THROUGH THE WINTER, THE GULF STREAM IS FAR OFFSHORE AT THIS LATITUDE. WATER NEAR SHORE CAN GET QUITE COLD AS IT WAS WHERE THE MARINE ELECTRIC SANK. WHEN ADDITIONAL WATER TEMPERATURE DATA WAS EXAMINED, IT WAS APPARENT THAT THE 35 DEGREES NORTH - 38 DEGREES NORTH ATLANTIC OCEAN OCS EXEMPTION WAS NOT CONSISTENT WITH THE 60 DEGREES F CRITERION. ACCORDINGLY, THE FINAL RULE PUBLISHED ON 7 FEBRUARY 1984 DID NOT INCLUDE THIS AREA IN THE EXEMPTED AREA. THE 35 DEGREES NORTH AND 35 DEGREES SOUTH LATITUDE LIMITS ARE CONSISTENT WITH THE CRITERION.