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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation M-83-052
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: REQUIRE THAT EXPOSURE SUITS BE PROVIDED FOR EACH CREWMEMBER, SCIENTIFIC PERSONNEL, OR INDUSTRIAL PERSON ON TANK VESSELS, PASSENGER VESSELS, CARGO AND MISCELLANEOUS VESSELS, MOBIL OFFSHORE DRILLING UNITS, OFFSHORE SUPPLY VESSELS, SMALL PASSENGER VESSELS, AND OCEANOGRAPHIC VESSELS THAT OPERATE IN AREAS WHERE THE WATER TEMPERATURE IS BELOW 60 DEGREES FARENHEIT. (Supersedes Safety Recommendations M-78-065 and M-82-035)
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: 9/1/1987
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: USCG (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: USCG
Date: 9/1/1987
Response:

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

From: NTSB
To: USCG
Date: 9/5/1984
Response: This Safety Recommendation was addressed in the Safety Board’s April 30, 1984, letter to the Coast Guard. exposure suits. This letter discussed the February 7, 1984, final rule for We note that the rule includes all of the vessels mentioned in Safety Recommendation M-83-52 except small passenger vessels and oceangoing passenger vessels. We are pleased to see the Coast Guard’s commitment to include provisions for thermal protection equipment on oceangoing passenger vessels through the new SOLAS requirements. The Board is concerned, however, that there are no Coast Guard plans to include small passenger vessels under similar rules. Based on the Coast Guard’s work with the SOLAS requirements, Safety Recommendation M-83-52 will be placed in an lfOpen-Acceptable Action” status pending the outcome of those activities. We strongly encourage you to reconsider your position on small passenger vessels.

From: NTSB
To: USCG
Date: 4/30/1984
Response: The Safety Board is disappointed that the Coast Guard did not include crewmembers of passenger vessels and continues to exempt vessels with totally enclosed lifeboats, except mobile offshore drilling units. Contrary to the statement in the preamble to the final rule that had the MARINE ELECTRIC been equipped with totally enclosed lifeboats with gravity davits, the crew may have been in the lifeboat and launched when the vessel capsized, the Safety Board’s report, “United States Bulk Carrier MARINE ELECTRIC Capsizing and Sinking About 30 Nautical Miles East of Chincoteage, Virginia, February 12, 1983,” issued on January 19, 1984, clearly shows this not to be true. When the master ordered the crew to abandon ship, the MARINE ELECTRIC’s lifeboat was ready for launching; however, before anyone could enter the lifeboat, the ship capsized. Even if the MARINE ELECTRIC had been equipped with enclosed lifeboats, the crewmembers still would have been thrown into cold water because they never had a chance to enter the lifeboats. Please note also that the Coast Guard has rejected a prior related Safety Board recommendation: M-80-79 Require all U.S. merchant vessels over 1600 gross tons to be equipped with at least one motor lifeboat on each side and gravity davits throughout. This recommendation was classified as ‘Closed-Unacceptable Action” on April 13, 1983. Requiring exposure suits only on those vessels which do not have gravity davits does not satisfy the need for exposure suits. A review of major marine accidents indicated that many persons ended up in the water in spite of the availability of lifeboats with gravity davits. The U.S. Coast Guard should reconsider its rulemaking and amend the regulations to require exposure suits for each crewmember, scientific personnel, or industrial person on all inspected vessels including those vessels with enclosed lifeboats. The Safety Board believes that all vessels over 1600 gross tons should be equipped with at least one motor lifeboat on each side and gravity davits throughout. Safety Recommendation M-83-52 will be classified as “Open-Unacceptable Action” pending your response to these comments.

From: USCG
To: NTSB
Date: 3/2/1984
Response:

From: USCG
To: NTSB
Date: 2/7/1984
Response: USCG 49FR 4479: FINAL RULE: EXPOSURE SUITS; REQUIREMENTS FOR MOBILE OFFSHORE DRILLING UNITS AND OTHER OCEANGOING AND COASTWISE VESSELS. (COPY ATTACHED)