USCG ends open lifeboat inspection campaign

Malcolm Latarche
Malcolm Latarche
ShipInsight

13 June 2019


A year-long inspection campaign on open lifeboats put in place by the US Coast Guard in response to the loss of the El Faro has ended.

The USCG conducted the year-long concentrated inspection campaign focused on open lifeboats throughout the US commercial fleet as directed in the Commandant’s Final Action Memo on the 2015 sinking of the El Faro. During the CIC, Coast Guard Marine Inspectors visited 45 US flag vessels and inspected 122 open lifeboats.

The CIC focused primarily on records keeping, crew proficiency, and the material condition of the lifeboats. Coast Guard Marine Inspectors identified 68 deficiencies on 35 open lifeboats. Examples of the identified material deficiencies included visible cracks on the hull, wastage on davits, delamination and cracking on various components, inoperable winches, and oil leaks.

Due to mooring configurations, 14 vessels could not launch, manoeuvre, and recover every open lifeboat during the CIC. For the lifeboats that could not be launched, Coast Guard Marine Inspectors examined the other eight items outlined on the CIC checklist and issued an inspection requirement to launch the remaining lifeboats in the presence of a Coast Guard Marine Inspector. The Coast Guard will monitor the material condition of the open lifeboats through annual inspections. Additionally, the Coast Guard will continue to evaluate the crew’s proficiency and the company maintenance programs to ensure lifeboats are ready for immediate use.