What is Coast Guard Policy on CATZOC in Alaskan Waters? Fennica Report

The U.S.C.G. has released its report on the Fennica grounding. The C.G. found no wrongdoing by the crew or pilot. The cause of the grounding was an “uncharted formation”. A Safety Recommendation was made that NOAA conduct a hydrographic survey in area B4 of chart 16530 (Unalaska Bay and vicinity)

The Coast Guard seems to be saying that once chart 16530 has been updated it’s ok to transit shoal areas with old surveys. This is contrary to what mariners with experience in Alaskan waters say. But in the report the Coast Guard doubles down:From the report:

“Given the inaccuracies of the chart at the time of the casualty,[B] the only other means to have prevented the casualty [/B]was the depth sounder”

Evidently the Coast Guard is unaware of the technique of avoiding shoals by keeping the ship in deep water, in this case avoiding the shoals would have required moving a few ship lengths further east to the main channel.

I would have expected the CG would recommend that mariners review policy on UKC when using charts based on old surveys.

But looks like they did, but not on the Fennica report:


Mariners are urged to be mindful of the quality and age of hydrographic survey data on which nautical charts are based and choose their route appropriately.

and this:

Mariners should choose transit routes well clear of shoal water to allow for sufficient under keel clearance, especially if operating in areas where chart source diagrams indicate the chart is not based on a recent hydrographic survey.

For some reason the Coast Guard did not issue a recommendation on the incident report but instead issued guidance where only mainers would see it.

Links to report here:

Report from USCG dated Aug 17, 2015 from the article: http://maritime-executive.com/article/fennica-grounding-blamed-on-chart