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Coast Guard releases new form for reporting marine casualties

Sep 30, 2016 02:09 PM

For the first time in nearly 40 years, the U.S. Coast Guard has released a revised form for reporting a marine casualty, commercial diving casualty or a casualty related to activity on the outer continental shelf. 

The newly renovated CG-2692 is the result of a three-year initiative by the Coast Guard. The new form replaced the previous version as of July 1, although field units will accept submissions filed on the old form through the end of the year.

According to Lt. Stefanie Hodgdon, senior investigating officer at the Coast Guard’s Marine Safety Office (MSO) in San Diego, the upgrades to CG-2692 are in response to advancements throughout the maritime industry. The form includes addendum CG-2692B, which is required for use in reporting a serious marine incident (SMI). 

Hodgdon said Coast Guard headquarters and its marine investigation program worked together to ensure the most advantageous revisions. 

“Undoubtedly the development of the new CG-2692 also took into consideration public comment and public recommendation,” she said. “The only way things get changed is if there’s enough public comment.”

Hodgdon said some people in the industry complained about the “excessive burden” of filling out and filing the previous version of the form. She said the changes on the new form reduce that burden significantly. The Coast Guard estimates that the average time to fill out and file the new CG-2692 is one hour.

Capt. David Cook, a San Diego-based master mariner and 30-year veteran aboard oceangoing vessels, said he has had to fill out his fair share of marine incident reports during his career.

“The (outdated CG-2692 form) is not clear on what (fields) need to be filled in, and it’s not totally clear on when it needs to be filled in,” Cook said.

Hodgdon said revisions to the form aim to put an end to this ambiguity.

Coast Guard representatives use adjectives such as streamlined, efficient and timesaving to describe the revised CG-2692. An operator can now complete the form online, attach his or her signature electronically and email the report to the appropriate Coast Guard field unit based on location. 

Reporting an SMI on the older form has several drawbacks, Hodgdon said, including the lack of “specific data fields necessary for capturing required information at the time of the incident.” 

When the MSO fields questions about this issue, Hodgdon said the office advises operators “to fill in the report as best they can, add additional data to the narrative or summary section or include it in personal remarks.” Otherwise, she said, “the IO (investigations office) will see to it during the preliminary investigation.” 

The MSO urged marine industry stakeholders to spread the word about the new form, make it readily available to vessel operators, and work with local Coast Guard sectors to obtain the best and most current email addresses for operators to electronically file a submission. 

Coast Guard field units will accept reports on the old CG-2692 through Dec. 31. “Any time the Coast Guard drafts new policy, we want to give the marine industry a chance to ease in,” Hodgdon said. 

Hodgdon said if the Coast Guard receives a report on the old form during the transition phase, “(MSO) guidance is we’re to let the operator know about the new form and help (them) get ahold of it.”

Capt. David Murline, master aboard R/V Roger Revelle, a Global-class research vessel operated by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, said it’s good to see that the Coast Guard is “coming up to speed.”

According to Murline, “The new form looks very easy (and) self-explanatory.” Murline said fellow mariners in the field would “of course” have a positive response to the changes.

“Every (U.S. flagship operator) uses Internet now, so (the CG-2692) should be easy to access,” he said. “I just looked it up and was able to find (the revision), no problem.”

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