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February 19, 2010

NTSB adds to marine "most wanted" list

The National Transportation Safety Board has issued its 2010 Federal Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements.

The NTSB says the U. S. Coast Guard should:

Require Safety Management Systems (SMS) for Domestic Vessels. It should require domestic vessel operators to develop, implement, and maintain a systematic and documented SMS to improve their safety practices and minimize risk.

Reduce Accidents and Incidents Caused by Human Fatigue in the Marine Industry. USCG should set working hour limits for mariners based on fatigue research, circadian rhythms, and sleep and rest requirements.

Both these recommendations have been designated "Red" -- meaning the NTSB considers the response it has received from the Coast Guard as unacceptable.

The SMS issue is new to the most wanted list.

NTSB says it has long been concerned about the issue of Safety Management Systems (SMS) on board ships, including subsystems such as preventive maintenance. Although the United States Coast Guard has announced that it intends to require SMS for vessels carrying more than 399 passengers, the Board feels this is unacceptable because it does not cover all U.S.-flagged vessels. The NTSB believes that the Coast Guard should require an SMS for all domestic vessels so that the same level of safety is applied to the domestic fleet of vessels as is applied to the international fleet.

On its list of actions required by states, NTSB calls for them to enhance recreational boating safety. States should require mandatory education of boat operators and should require use of life jackets by children.


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