The United States Coast Guard (USCG) has published Safety Alert 11-17 relating to vessel stability and watertight integrity. Recently, a marine casualty involving a fishing vessel in the Bering Sea resulted in multiple fatalities and complete loss of the vessel.
The Coast Guard notes:
A Marine Board of Investigation is currently analyzing the various circumstances surrounding the casualty. Although the investigation is not complete, testimony and fact finding indicate that vessel owners, operators, and crews should give special consideration to vessel stability concerns.
The need for operators to understand their vessel’s Stability Instructions (SI) cannot be overstated. It is important to understand the document. Operators and crew should seek out opportunities to further their knowledge of stability via courses, training, workshops, and visits from Naval Architects. They should also take advantage of other various initiatives, both mandatory and voluntary, to discuss and compare a vessel’s current SI to the actual loaded condition prior to departing port. An independent review of a vessel’s loaded condition, equipment, and operations can often provide important insights.
The Coast Guard provides guidance on:
- Steps to significantly reduce the risk of capsizing;
- Confirming the accuracy of stability instructions in the context of conversion or change;
- The risk of icing adding to dangerous instability.
The full Coastguard Safety Alert 11-17 can be found at dco.uscg.mil.
Members may wish to review the following incident:
IMCA Safety Flashes summarise key safety matters and incidents, allowing lessons to be more easily learnt for the benefit of all. The effectiveness of the IMCA Safety Flash system depends on Members sharing information and so avoiding repeat incidents. Please consider adding [email protected] to your internal distribution list for safety alerts or manually submitting information on incidents you consider may be relevant. All information is anonymised or sanitised, as appropriate.
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