Fairplay - US Coast Guard seeks tighter grip over third parties in wake of El Faro sinking

From Fairplay today:


There is a need to bring back an agency like the former Steamboat Inspection Service (1871-1932) to takeover inspection of vessels. The USCG does not want to do it, and they no longer have the ability to do it. Third party inspections need to end.


That begs the question: Does the USCG have the competence to oversee third party organizations?

For example, apparently the CG found no issue with the fact that class hydro’ed El Faro’s economizers at less than normal working pressure. WTF was that supposed to show?

I don’t think the question is “begged” at all. The implied answer to your question (are they competent to oversee third party) is no and that answer is supported by their own findings.
As written about here:

With an active ACP program manager and a “traveling inspector office” already in place one has to consider if these are staffed with correct people and / or funded sufficiently or staffed sufficiently to perform their duties properly.

The point of my post above is rather than create a new “center of excellence” just properly staff and support the ACP program manager and these traveling inspectors. Perhaps even with civil servants drawn from merchant seaman. A few Class / USCG oversight team interactions may have class reviewing their own standards.


Dang phone.

I did NOT mean to flag this.


Bullshit! :angry:

You know what is clear and unambiguous? The recommendations from the Marine Electric causilty report which states:

The examination of U.S. Merchant Vessels to assure their compliance with Federal Safety Statutes and regulations be conducted by knowledgable members of a U.S. Government Agency. The responsibilities for these functions shall not be delegated or entrusted to the private sector.”

Do you know what is unclear and highly ambiguous? Adm. Zukunft’s Final Action memo which states:

"Safety Recommendation #21

…,.the Coast Guard must maintain adequate oversight of all delegated functions, including those SMS verification functions that have been delegated to an RO. However, rather than arbitrarily increasing oversight frequency, the frequency of Coast Guard attendance at SMS verifications will be risk based and data-driven. The Coast Guard will enhance its data systems, develop an SMS oversight policy, refine internal risk models, and establish key performance indicators. These indicators will be used to direct additional oversight of ACS performance. In addition, as described in the RO Code, the Coast Guard will establish a process to conduct Vertical Contract Audits to ensure proper execution of delegated functions."

In what fucking world is a statement like “a process to conduct Vertical Contract Audits to ensure proper execution of delegated functions” clear and unabiguous!?!?



This whole concept of delegating governmental functions to third party inspectors hired by the owners is such bullshit. The conflict of interest compromised and inadequate results of third party inspection by misnamed “responsible organizations” was obvious long before it was published in the Federal Register.

As soon as I saw that the newly published Subchapter M for towing vessel inspections was not going to result in a USCG Issued COI after a USCG inspection, but instead was going to rely on a company written Towing SMS and a company hired third party inspection with no USCG COI being issued, I tossed Subchapter M right overboard. Subchapter M based is utterly useless bullshit.


FYI: I just posted an article from Fairplay without comments from my side.

Here is the complete paragraph that you quoted:

So please address your anger at the Rear Admiral.

PS> I would normally have just posted a link, but because Fairplay have a paywall I copied and pasted. to make it accessible to those who are not subscribers to Fairplay.

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Oh I asure you I will!!

Thank you @ombugge for bringing this patently false statement by an American flag officer to our attention.


Many of us thought the same thing, John. I was in HS when the Marine Electric sank but after reading “Until the Sea Shall Free Them” almost a decade ago, I have had a very different view of the inspection and certification process.

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Yep. Kinda like Rear Adm Philip Greene’s answer to the el faro hearing board’s question “So how – could you describe your reporting relationship with Tote Inc itself?”?

RADM Greene: Let me just, again as a means of helping you better understand our organization. We’ve got a phenomenal ethos within Saltchuk, but as I look at Tote Inc. and our leadership team, which is guided by Anthony Chiarello our CEO, the value that’s placed on ethics, integrity, character, transparency is so gratifying, and in particularly for somebody who spent the better part of their life in a culture that was so extraordinary like the United States Navy. So the relationships that we have are professional, they’re collegial, they’re transparent and they’re built on a foundation of ethics, integrity, character and I’ll add moral courage.


Well that is a loving and intense relationship he maintains with Tote. Pardon me but I am getting a little bit weak in the knees and feeling like I’m gonna yak…


I’m so sick and tired of this bullshit I almost puked myself.

And over half a million gCaptain readers are about to learn exactly why I feel sick to my stomach right now:



John, this is article nails it and I hope they reply to you (gCaptain) in some way that can lead to fixing this problem!

To @tugsailor, I also had hoped that “M” would address a lot of the on going problems but (to me atleast) all it does is whitewash the problem!


Admiral Thad Allen, Commandant when we launched gCaptain, was frequently provided direct feedback on all my articles (not always positive but always appreciated by me) and encouraged other USCG to chime in and participate with the online discussion. His replacement, Admiral Papp, made it clear to his Admirals that gCaptain is the enemy and must be avoided. Adm Zukunft just reads gCaptain (or so I’m told by my sources) but otherwise ignores us.


@john That was good article. Those grades pin it down.

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Thank you. I always value your feedback.

That said, we’d also love to publish more from you… if you are ever so inclined.


Zukunft is German and means Future. However, the future of USCG with people like Zukunft at the helm is, I am afraid, at best unclear an ambiguous.


Well said, sir.