Edition 02-2016 is available to download here.
Had a bad day? Maybe it wasn’t as bad as the vessel above, but you know you need to give the nearest U.S. Coast Guard OCMI (Officer in Charge of Marine Inspection) or COTP (Captain of the Port) a call. Where do you start?
Fortunately for those who have not had to make such reports in the past, the USCG has provided guidance. Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular (NVIC) 01-15 lays out the requirements for reportable incidents in accordance with 46 CFR Part 4. There are very specific reports – both immediately (generally by voice) and then written within 5 days.
Many a company has failed to adequately provide the immediate notification, which can lead to fines. As the fines are up to $32,500, this is sure to quickly gain the attention of company management. Vessel personnel can expect rapid modification of procedures for reporting of incidents when fines are levied.
Immediate does not mean instantaneous, however. It means “as soon as reasonably practicable without delay.” In other words, take care of what needs to be taken care of to ensure the safety of crew, vessel and other safety concerns before stopping to call the nearest USCG Command Center. It is highly recommended that the command center is utilized for these notifications instead of contacting a particular inspector, as it provides the opportunity for the fastest response.
In the event that the nearest USCG OCMI or command center cannot be reached by telephone or radio, the National Response Center is certainly an option. In a pinch, ensuring a message is left or a particular inspector IS contacted, this should fulfill the reporting requirements. Just remember that you may be judged on how thorough your efforts were to make that initial voice report.
And the 2692 (the written report) has changed rather significantly. There is a brief video below that describes those changes. The current 2692, 2692A and 2692B can continue to be used until midnight on December 31st, 2016. As many in the industry have these saved onboard or on their personal equipment, ensuring an overlap is an excellent idea. Be aware that the changes are coming!
Having to file a USCG 2692 or make the initial voice reports is not the end of the world. We may not relish the idea of the Coast Guard or company investigating the incident, but it is part of being a professional mariner. Trying to sweep an incident under the rug will rarely work out well. Check out the links below that include the guidance on required reporting both from Sector New Orleans and NVIC 01-15.
Let’s be safe out there.
Additional Reading and Links
“A safety culture encompasses the commonly held perceptions and beliefs of an organization’s members pertaining to the public’s safety and can be a determinant of the behaviour of the members. A healthy safety culture relies on a high degree of trust and respect between personnel and management and must therefore be created and supported at the senior management level.” – International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)
What?! I thought we were talking about ships – at least that picture up there is of a burning ship, isn’t it? Well, like many safety concepts, such as bridge resource management growing out of cockpit resource management in the aviation world, many concepts of safety are universal. It doesn’t matter if it’s a ship, an airplane, a factory in Detroit or a farm in Iowa, they all have institutional cultures and part of that is the safety culture.
At this point, we are merely talking about definitions. What actually encompasses a safety culture is far reaching and, literally, a topic of books upon books. Where does this take us? Check out the report below from the oil and gas industry and then the links further down. Yes, it can be dry, but it’s much, much more than a buzzword. In the end, it’s not about psychology, but about biology. Read on.
Before you pass up the above report, read this quote from it, “…Responsible companies and progressive regulators realize the need to go beyond regulatory compliance by embracing safety in a holistic manner.”
This concept is important to the maritime industry as a whole. Regulations are in place to ensure a minimum safety standard. Yes, going beyond the regulations in terms of building, manning, equipping, maintaining and operating a vessel is costly. But aren’t incidents (groundings, collisions, fire, sinking, personal injury) expensive in and of themselves?
Any business will calculate the breakeven point of an investment. Perhaps the P&I Club costs are less than the initial costs of going beyond the minimum regulations, but what of the intangibles? BP (British Petroleum) and Exxon would probably tell you that preventing the explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon or the grounding of the Exxon Valdez would have been far preferable than the alternative. The cost to a company’s reputation in the day of the 24-hour news cycle can be tremendous.
Let’s be safe out there.
Additional Reading and Links
- What’s the relevance of this accident report? For one, it’s the source of the photo above and it highlights what happens when a safety culture is weak. Read the report and note the part about having a serious atmosphere when the master was on the bridge, but much more (too?) casual when he wasn’t. This indicates that there was lip service being paid to the safety culture promoted by the master.