Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Lessons Learned—Tow Allides with Moored Casino—Part III

Excerpt from U.S. Coast Guard “Proceedings of the Marine Safety & Security Council” magazine.

Click here for Part I and Part II.

Permanently Moored Vessel Quality Action Team
Because of a number of other accidents involving permanently moored vessels, the Coast Guard convened a quality action team to identify risks involving permanently moored vessels, establish more formal means of Coast Guard involvement in their siting and mooring, and develop measures for reducing their risk of accidents.

The team found that barge breakaways, collisions, and high water were the main causes of permanently moored vessels parting their moorings. The team also found that 68 percent of the accidents occurred at high-risk locations, concluding that appropriate site selection was the most effective way of managing permanently moored vessel risk.

The team developed a permanently moored passenger vessel initial risk assessment to better quantify risks. To confirm its validity, the team examined accident data from almost 300 accidents that occurred between 1992 and 1997 within a half-mile of permanently moored vessels. That accident data generally validated the methodology, and those accident statistics were used to establish acceptable risk scores.

The information and recommendations were then used as a base for changes in Coast Guard policies applicable to permanently moored vessels. These policy changes, including the risk assessment, were included in the 2000 update of the Coast Guard’s Marine Safety Manual.

Coast Guard/Corps of Engineers Memorandum of Agreement
Because a vessel switches from the Coast Guard’s authority to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) when it receives permanently moored vessel status, one of the concerns voiced during the investigation was the feeling that the Coast Guard should be more involved and seek a formal role in guaranteeing safety.

While the responsibility for issuing permits remains with the USACE, a memorandum of agreement was signed in June 2000 establishing a formal process through which the Coast Guard provides input during the evaluation process for issuing permits—including permanently moored vessels and facilities—on safety standards, emergency equipment, and other safety conditions.

To facilitate this transition, Coast Guard personnel evaluate each vessel’s mooring arrangements. Once they have determined that the vessel meets the risk criteria, the USACE provides a site permit and the Coast Guard then transfers responsibility for future safety regulation of the vessel to local authorities. The Coast Guard remains involved with the permanently moored vessel, reevaluating the vessel’s risks every two years (and when pertinent local conditions change) using the aforementioned risk assessment.

The creation of the risk assessment, along with clarification of permanently moored vessels and the Coast Guard’s role with them, has created a more quantified means of assessing risk and establishing safer measures.

For more information:
Full article is available at www.uscg.mil/proceedings. Click on “archives” and “2006 Volume 63, Number 2” (Summer 2006).

Subscribe online at http://www.uscg.mil/proceedings/subscribe.asp.

Direct requests for print copies of this edition to: HQS-DG-NMCProceedings@uscg.mil.