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Passenger Vessels & Ferries

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PASSENGER VESSELS those recommendations are implemented, and why have ment.” After all, he added, the legislative ideas are very close they not been implemented to date? to what NTSB proposed for DUKW boats – 20 years ago.

“Over the years we’ve seen tragedy after tragedy after trag- This concern with inaction, with lost time, was highlighted edy happen. Why—why—do we need to wait until an- in opening remarks by Subcommittee Chair Sean Maloney other tragedy to change our current safety rules?” (N.Y.-18th) who said he “shares the NTSB’s concerns. The

Timme said the Coast Guard is looking “forward to a Coast Guard is making a critical mistake by not acting more full and complete report from the Marine Board of In- assertively on (NTSB’s) recommendations.” Maloney was vestigation,” due in 2020. Timme said the Coast Guard present for just part of the hearing. He did not indicate how does work side-by-side with NTSB. But the Coast Guard, the Subcommittee might establish a more aggressive Coast he told Carbajal and the Subcommittee, has to take a rec- Guard-NTSB link or otherwise follow up after the hearing. ommendation and move it into a “different framework,” a Vessel inspections were another priority focus. A big different context that includes rulemaking, workforce “and concern, of course, is who does the inspections – the Coast the ecosystem it would go into.” He added that the Coast Guard or an approved third party, as is currently allowed

Guard, in response to the Conception tragedy, has “char- with towing vessels. This impacts a more fundamental is- tered a team,” separate from the Marine Board’s work, to sue: Coast Guard resources, personnel and funding. Rank- investigate the entire class of Conception-type vessels. This ing Member Bob Gibbs (Ohio-7th) noted that since 2004 report will follow a 30-day “inspection campaign” of those nearly 75,000 vessels have been brought under the CG’s vessels. It will recommend changes, including a re-look at security domain but, he added, the agency “has received past NTSB recommendations. virtually no additional resources to carry out its work.”

The references to NTSB recommendations was a sore Colleen Stephens, Vice President of the Passenger Ves- point for the Subcommittee. Members expressed frustra- sel Association, strongly emphasized PVA’s support and, tion with delays – measured sometimes in decades – be- really, insistence for direct Coast Guard inspections, not tween post-accident safety recommendations and actual third-party programs. Stephens described a long list of implementation, or not. programmatic safety commitments undertaken by PVA

Rep. Andre Carson (Ind.-7th) asked panelist Brian Cur- membership. She described a safety management system tis, Director, Of? ce of Marine Safety, NTSB, about the called Flagship, developed expressly for passenger vessels.

Branson, Mo., DUKW boat tragedy. More speci? cally, In 2017, the Coast Guard called Flagship a “remarkable

Carson has sponsored a bill (HR 2799) requiring certain achievement,” meeting all of the requirements for an in- structural changes to DUKW boats. Nine Indiana resi- dustry-led voluntary program.

dents died in the Bransom accident. Carson asked NTSB’s But critically, and this is a core concern, Stephens said that

Curtis to comment on the bill’s proposals. “PVA’s efforts to promote safety by passenger-carrying vessel

Curtis’ answer: yes, the legislative recommendations operators depend heavily on an engaged, well-trained, and would increase safety and passenger survivability. Indeed, adequately-funded Coast Guard Marine Safety Mission.”

Curtis referenced the bill as something of an “endorse- She said that direct Coast Guard contact is “essential and has 25 MN

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