A wildlife viewing tour operator in Southeast Alaska says they had seven boats taken out of operation on Wednesday after the Coast Guard inspected 10 of their vessels.
Allen Marine Tours operates scenic and wildlife-viewing tours in and around Juneau, Ketchikan and Sitka.
Chief Petty Officer Matthew Schofield, spokesperson for Coast Guard District 17, deferred most questions to Allen Marine. But he did confirm inspectors found multiple issues.
If a captain has written up work orders for repairs to be completed, repairs known to the CG (who have duly cleared the boat to run) and the company drags its feet in fixing them (brake down maintenance) when does the captain have the obligation to put his foot down and say “no more”? and if an incident happens in the meantime how hard with the CG fuck said captain over?
Allen Marine has been operating in SE for many years.
I suspect what happened is that after the fire on the dive boat Conception the Coast Guard has suddenly got religion. Same as the El Yunque, before the loss of the El Faro it was in compliance and after it wasn’t seaworthy.
Some one at the Coast Guard needs to start doing their fucking job.
The USCG cracked down hard in general after the El Faro. They gave the Transatlantic a really hard time at their first COI inspection after that incident.
Unfortunately, the Coast Guard did not find religion after the tragic loss of the “El Faro.” In February 2016, only four months after the loss of the “El Faro,” during an ISM “document of compliance” inspection of TOTE which included a walkthrough of “El Yunque,” USCG traveling inspectors discovered severe corrosion within a ventilation trunk. Upon further inspection, using a hammer to test the area, it revealed the area was compromised and was not watertight as is required. It is then reported that the lead traveling inspector received a cell phone call from the USCG Sector Jacksonville Commander ordering the traveling inspectors to stop testing and inspection of “El Yunque.” I can’t think of any rational, logical explanation as to why the Sector Commander would issue such an order. Is this individuals memory that short that just four months prior a TOTE vessel sank with 33 persons on board?
Incredibly coincidental, this USCG Sector Jacksonville Commander left the USCG in April 2017 and went to work for TOTE in May 2017 as VP of Marine Operations. As of January 2019, this individual was promoted to President of TOTE Services, LLC. It appears things worked out quite well for this individual.
As far as “cracking down” after the sinking of the “El Faro,” should it really take a vessel sinking with 33 people on board for the USCG to actually do their job the way they are supposed to do it?
Of course specific things were found wrong with the El Yunque, that’s what happens with increased regulatory scrutiny. Does it make sense that before the El Faro it was fully in compliance and after it’s found fit only for scrapping but the loss of the El Faro was unrelated?
After the Marine Electric went down something like 70 world war II era ships were scrapped. This was a result of increased regulatory scrutiny, it was not just coincidence.
Do you think the Allen Marine boats were 100% OK before the Conception fire?
That is the entire point. The Coast Guard shouldn’t have to wait till after a major incident before they start properly inspecting vessels. That’s their job.
Agreed. So why is it that the U.S. Coast Guard and their Senior Leadership can’t seem to comprehend this very elementary concept?
There’s an interesting dynamic at play here. The Coast Guard’s mission is to serve the public. That means for economics as well as safety. When some risk has been tolerated for years, they are responding to the public by not burdening owners with new requirements. When there is a tragic incident resulting from that accepted risk, the public now looks to the Coast Guard to prevent it from happening again, and wonders why requirements weren’t changed sooner. All benevolent government agencies work this way, and it’s a fine line that obviously warrants a blast of criticism when things go wrong.
Would you be happy to have your family travel on an airline regulated by the USCG?
Boeing & FAA & 737Max
The FAA is a much more sensibly structured and effective civilian government agency compared to the USCG which is a military / law enforcement agency that is spread far too thin in too many different directions.
Safety of vessel personnel should be a priority of the U.S. Coast Guard that trumps economics. Risk has not been tolerated. Risk has been enabled due to the lack of enforcement by the U.S. Coast Guard and other regulators. This lack of enforcement is due to many factors which include politics, cronyism and pandering. When there are tragedies as a result of this enablement the public and, in particular, mariners are critical because the Coast Guard never seems to learn from tragedies of the past.
I am of the belief that most mariners would not find it to be a “burden” if new requirements made things safer for them and/or passengers.
The below link is to an “open letter” I sent back in November. It is about this very subject