>NTSB Recommendations: Commercial Fishing Vessel Safety

>On Oct. 20, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued two safety recommendations to the Coast Guard as a result of its investigation into the Mar. 23, 2008, sinking of the Alaska Ranger.

The NTSB noted that the Coast Guard failed to identify that the Alaska Ranger’s engineers were not properly certificated during a Jan. 2008 voluntary dockside examination. The NTSB thus recommends that the Coast Guard conduct refresher training for its marine inspectors and commercial fishing vessel examiners on the licensing and manning regulations that apply to commercial fishing industry vessels.

NTSB also conducted an analysis of the commercial fishing vessel casualties before and after the passage of the Commercial Fishing Industry Vessel Safety Act of 1988, and concluded that mandatory inspection is the best way to ensure that fishing vessels will be designed, constucted, equipped, maintained, and operated safely. The NTSB thus recommends that the Coast Guard seek legislative authority to require all commercial fishing vessels be inspected and certificated by the Coast Guard to ensure that the vessels provide an appropriate level of safety to those on board.