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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation M-84-012
Details
Synopsis: ON FEBRUARY 12, 1983, THE 605-FOOT 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 ABOARD. THREE PERSONS SURVIVED THE ACCIDENT, AND THE BODIES OF 24 PERSONS WERE RECOVERED. THE OTHER SEVEN PERSONS ARE MISSING AND PRESUMED DEAD. THE MARINE ELECTRIC CURRENTLY IS RESTING IN THREE PIECES ON THE BOTTOM OF THE OCEAN IN ABOUT 120 FEET OF WATER; ITS ESTIMATED VALUE, INCLUDING THE CARGO, WAS $12 MILLION.
Recommendation: THE NTSB RECOMMENDS THAT THE FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION: REQUIRE A DESIGN CHANGE TO THE MARTECH WHALER EB-2BW EMERGENCY POSITION INDICATING RADIO BEACON TO IMPROVE ITS MAINTAINABILITY AND RELIABILITY.
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: 1/24/1984
Date Closed: 11/23/1992
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: Federal Communications Commission (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: Federal Communications Commission
Date: 11/23/1992
Response: BECAUSE THE FCC'S REVISION TO 47 CFR 80.1053 MEETS THE INTENT OF THE RECOMMENDED ACTION, SAFETY RECOMMENDATION M-84-12 HAS BEEN CLASSIFIED AS "CLOSED--ACCEPTABLE ACTION."

From: Federal Communications Commission
To: NTSB
Date: 10/8/1992
Response: AS YOU NOTED, THE MANUFACTURER OF THE MARTECH EPIRB WAS INSTRUCTED TO CHANGE AND CLARIFY THE INSTRUCTIONS ACCOMPANYING THE DEVICE TO ELIMINATE CONFUSION WITH RESPECT TO MAINTENANCE AND OPERATION. SUBSEQUENTLY, THE COMMISSION ADOPTED RULES REQUIRING NEWLY MANUFACTURED EPIRB'S TO COMPLY WITH MORE STRICT EMISSION STANDARDS EFFETIVE OCTOBER 1, 1988. AS A RESULT, ALL EPRIB MANUFACTURERS HAVE HAD TO SUBMIT DATA TO THE COMMISSION SHOWING COMPLIANCE. OUR RECORDS INDICATE THAT MARTECH HAS NOT FILED ANY SUCH SUBMISSION FOR WHALER EB-2BW EPIRB. THEREFORE THE MARTECH WHALER EB-2BW IS NO LONGER ACCEPTABLE FOR USE ON CARGO SHIPS AS AN EPIRB.

From: NTSB
To: Federal Communications Commission
Date: 7/31/1992
Response: WE WOULD APPRECIATE BEING INFORMED ABOUT THE EFFORTS THAT HAVE BEEN OR ARE BEING MADE TO IMPLEMENT THESE SAFETY RECOMMENDATIONS. COPIES OF OUR MARCH 17, 1982, JULY 7, 1983, JANUARY 24, 1984, AND MAY 22, 1984, LETTERS AND THE JUNE 2, 1983, MARCH 7, 1984, AND JUNE 14, 1984, FCC RESPONSE TO THESE SAFETY RECOMMENDATIONS ARE ENCLOSED FOR YOUR INFORMATION.

From: NTSB
To: Federal Communications Commission
Date: 8/2/1985
Response:

From: Federal Communications Commission
To: NTSB
Date: 6/14/1984
Response:

From: NTSB
To: Federal Communications Commission
Date: 5/22/1984
Response:

From: Federal Communications Commission
To: NTSB
Date: 3/7/1984
Response: FCC LETTER: YOUR RECOMMENDATION REQUESTS THE FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION TO REQUIRE A DESIGN CHANGE TO THE MARTECH WHALER EB-2BW, EMERGENCY POSITION INDICATING RADIO BEACON (EPIRB), TO IMPROVE ITS MAINTAINABILITY AND RELIABILITY. THE MARTECH WHALER EB-2BW HAS PREVIOUSLY EXPERIENCED PROBLEMS RELATED TO THE PROCEDURE USED TO REASSEMBLE THE UNIT AFTER BATTERY REPLACEMENT. THIS PROBLEM WAS CONSIDERED TO HAVE BEEN CORRECTED BY A MODIFICATION TO THE EPIRB'S MAINTENANCE MANUAL. YOU STATE THAT THE MARINE ELECTRIC CARRIED A MARTECH WHALER EB-2BW WHEN IT SANK FEBRUARY 12, 1983, AND NO SIGNAL WAS HEARD BY RESCUE PERSONNEL. THE SS POET WHICH DISAPPEARED ABOUT OCTOBER 25, 1980 WAS ALSO FITTED WITH A MARTECH WHALER EB-2BW. CONSEQUENTLY, BECAUSE OF THESE TWO INCIDENTS THE COMMISSION SHARES YOUR CONCERN THAT THERE MAY BE A PROBLEM WITH THIS TYPE OF EPRIB. WE PLAN TO PERFORM A "WET TEST" OF ALL EPIRB'S DURING OUR ANNUAL VESSEL INSPECTION TO DETERMINE THAT THESE DEVICES OPERATE PROPERLY. THE "WET TEST" WILL INCLUDE A 60 FOOT DROP TEST INTO WATER AND ACTUAL MONITORING OF THE RF SIGNAL RADIATED. OUR PRESENT METHOD OF TESTING INVOLVES OBSERVING A TEST LIGHT PROVIDED ON THE DEVICE TO INDICATE SATISFACTORY OPERATION. THE PROPOSED "WET TEST" WILL MORE CLOSELY SIMULATE THE ACTUAL CONDITIONS UNDER WHICH THE EPIRB WILL BE USED AND WILL INCLUDE ACTUAL MONITORING OF THE FR TRANSMISSION. THIS TEST PROGRAM WILL PROVIDE US WITH INFORMATION WE NEED CONCERNING THE REASON FOR FAILURE, THE TYPE NUMBER OF THE EQUIPMENT AND THE NAME OF THE EPIRB MANUFACTURER. UPON THE CONCLUSION OF THIS EVALUATION PROGRAM, WE WILL BE IN A POSITION TO RESPOND TO YOUR RECOMMENDATION CONCERNING THE MARTECH WHALER EB-2BW, AS WELL AS TAKING APPROPRIATE ACTION CONCERNING OTHER TYPES OF EPIRB FAILURES, IF OUR INVESTIGATION INDICATES THAT TO BE NECESSARY. THE INVESTIGATION PHASE WILL TAKE APPROXIMATELY 6 MONTHS.