Create a complex and fragile inspection / compliance regime - one that diffuses accountability not encourages it. Further, ensure there are built in hurdles to its effectiveness (revisions of guidelines, confusion over standards being inspected to). Do not address the issue of potential ship owner / manager untoward influence on the whole process. Shake, bake and await the inevitable decline in ship’s material condition. After a catastrophe, look into it.
Hard to argue with the ACP related safety recommendations number 21 to 26 (page 196) but it is also hard to see how these topics were not addressed in the original program set up or did not even come up during the course of operating this program over its history. These are some basic concepts here. Quality and assessment of the ACS acting in place of the USCG,. Quality of the oversight of the ACS by the USCG. Reporting.
The discussion of the ACP in the report makes it sound like a thing on autopilot, unattended and without active management. Yet we know it has a program manager:
But the real icing on the cake comes at recommendation number 30 (page 198). The suggestion to create a “Third Party Oversight National Center of Expertise”. Behold! The birth of a new bureaucracy!
Here is the full recommendation:
Safety Recommendation #30 – Third Party Oversight National Center of Expertise. It is recommended that Commandant consider creation of a Third Party Oversight National Center of Expertise to conduct comprehensive and targeted oversight activities on all third party organizations and ACSs that perform work on behalf of the Coast Guard. The Center of Expertise should be staffed with Subject Matter Experts that are highly trained inspectors, investigators, and auditors with the capability and authority to audit all aspects of third party organizations. As an alternative, the Coast Guard could add a new Third Party Oversight Office at Coast Guard Headquarters with a similar staffing model as the proposed Center of Expertise. The new Third Party Oversight Office could function similar to the Traveling Inspector Office and report directly to the Assistant Commandant for Prevention Policy.
Here’s an idea. Not only should it function like the “Traveling Inspector Office” it should be the Traveling Inspector Office. Here’s the mission of the traveling inspectors:
They include the following:
Participate in ACP/MSP examinations to ensure consistent application of the regulations.
Oversee SMC and DOC Audits to ensure consistent application of the SMS code.
Oversee 3rd Party Inspection Audits to ensure compliance with applicable laws, regulations and CG Policy
Boy that sure sounds like overlap. Having a resource center for the auditors that are auditing the auditors.
How can the ventilation plenums be allowed to to deteriorate to the levels shown in the report? Not only not found but then tolerated - from the report (page 80). Keep in mind this is for the El Yunque but reflects on the shore based M&R function and the SMS reporting / correction functions.
On February, 1, 2016, three Coast Guard Traveling Inspectors attended EL YUNQUE as part of an ISM DOC Annual Audit of TOTE, which took place in Jacksonville, Florida. ABS led the DOC audit and provided three auditors, including the District Principal Surveyor. A Sector Jacksonville Coast Guard Marine Inspector also attended the audit as an observer. The Coast Guard does not normally participate in DOC audits; however, the Coast Guard Traveling Inspectors requested to be added to the team for TOTE’s audit due to the previously identified maintenance concerns and the sinking of EL FARO four months earlier.
Part of the DOC audit included a general walk-through of EL YUNQUE, and the Traveling Inspectors requested that TOTE open up a starboard exhaust ventilation trunk serving cargo Hold 3 for inspection. The Traveling Inspectors noted severe corrosion within the ventilation trunk and they subsequently conducted testing of the soundness of the internal structure of the trunk. This test, which was performed in a typical manner using a hammer, resulted in a hole through baffle plating that was required to be watertight (see Figure 27). As the Traveling Inspectors were discussing expansion of their inspection to additional ventilation trunks, the senior Traveling Inspector received a cell phone call from the Sector Jacksonville Commanding Officer. The Sector Commander, as the OCMI for the Port of Jacksonville, ordered the Traveling Inspectors to stop further inspection and hammer testing of EL YUNQUE’s ventilation trunks because it exceeded the scope of the DOC audit; the Traveling Inspectors complied with that order. However, the Senior Traveling Inspector suspected that the potential for long- standing corrosion existed for the other ventilation trunks and voiced a concern that the wastage could present a down flooding risk if the vessel experienced severe rolls. As a result, the Traveling Inspectors requested that Sector Jacksonville conduct a follow-up inspection to check additional trunks for conditions similar to that of Hold 3’s starboard exhaust vent trunk.
My emphasis added. Not to fear the Jax OCMI did insist that the ACP surveyor check into the problem and they did require repairs. These were accomplished for the original problems the traveling inspectors found but looks like they didn’t look at others or lied about it. From the report page 82.
D_uring MBI testimony on May 19, 2016, the ABS surveyor who conducted the February 2016, repair survey on EL YUNQUE stated the following when asked if problems were detected in other ventilation trunks:_
So after this was discovered we looked at the port side as well and then we sampled other trunks to verify that they were in good condition. This one that you have pictures of is the only one that was found in this condition with regards to the corrosion.
Yet after this the ship was moved to Seattle for work so it could be a relief ship in the Alaska trade. But the OCMI there did take a look and found equally heinous condition of the ventilation plenum and ducting structure and dampers. All was added to the work list but TOTE scrapped the ship later that year.
Did the crew really hide this from TOTE shore based M&R operation? I’m guessing not and I’m guessing TOTE management just did not see this as a priority. They should have been all over this without the ACP/USCG having to find it.
The description of the CO2 system condition is equally disgusting (page 79 and 80). Again the reflection on the failure of the SMS is noted.
It appears the ABS is the RO for the ISM auditing as well as the flag state inspections. So not only do they check on the material condition of the ship they check on how the company keeps up with and tracks the repairs of deficiencies and how they handle other non-conformities within their own system. Wouldn’t the requirement that ISM auditor and your class surveyor being two separate entities be a good idea?
This is indeed a sad story that has emerged and yet how do these guys still have a DOC to operate ships? The report does NOT seem to address:
No recommendation for increased auditing of the DOC / SMC? Since it obviously failed them audit them more often than required.
No recommendation for a detailed review of the company’s SMS? Its noted throughout the report as being in need of help but no requirement to do something about it?
No recommendation to straighten out their lines of communication with regard to DPA, Port Engineers / M&R / Technical issues and operations?
I give the MBI some kudos for the report. They included some good information and some that was even in a poor light for the USCG and ABS. At least they looked at the ACP program but I think they could have come up with some better recommendations and immediate enforcement actions against TOTE.