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Coast Guard details deficiencies on open lifeboats

Jun 19, 2019 03:46 PM

More than 28 percent had issues including visible hull cracks and inoperable winches

The lifeboats on El Faro were similar to those on sister ship El Yunque, shown undergoing an NTSB examination in Jacksonville, Fla., eight days after El Faro sank in 2015.

Courtesy NTSB

The lifeboats on El Faro were similar to those on sister ship El Yunque, shown undergoing an NTSB examination in Jacksonville, Fla., eight days after El Faro sank in 2015.

The following is a blog post from Coast Guard Maritime Commons:

(WASHINGTON) — On May 1, the Coast Guard concluded a yearlong concentrated inspection campaign (CIC), MSIB 04-18, focused on open lifeboats throughout the U.S. commercial fleet as directed in the Commandant’s Final Action Memo on the 2015 sinking of the S.S. El Faro. During the CIC, Coast Guard marine inspectors visited 45 U.S.-flag vessels and inspected 122 open lifeboats.

The CIC focused primarily on records keeping, crew proficiency, and the material condition of the lifeboats. Coast Guard marine inspectors identified 68 deficiencies on 35 open lifeboats. Examples of the identified material deficiencies included visible cracks on the hull, wastage on davits, delamination and cracking on various components, inoperable winches, and oil leaks.

Due to mooring configurations, 14 vessels could not launch, maneuver, and recover every open lifeboat during the CIC. For the lifeboats that could not be launched, Coast Guard marine inspectors examined the other eight items outlined on the CIC checklist and issued an inspection requirement to launch the remaining lifeboats in the presence of a Coast Guard marine inspector.

The Coast Guard will monitor the material condition of the open lifeboats through annual inspections. Additionally, the Coast Guard will continue to evaluate the crew’s proficiency and the company maintenance programs to ensure lifeboats are ready for immediate use.

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