In 2018, US Coast Guard (USCG) marine inspectors conducted about 20,048 inspections on US-flagged vessels, and identified a total of 25,324 deficiencies in the process.
The results of the USCG’s investigations were recently made public in its 2018 Domestic Annual Report. In comparison with 2017, the first year the report was published, the number of vessel inspections increased by 1,624 and the average number of deficiencies identified per inspection increased from 1.17 to 1.26 – a rise of nearly 8%.
According to the report, passenger vessels accounted for almost 73% of recorded deficiencies. However, cargo vessels received a higher ratio of deficiencies per vessel, with an average of 4.17.
The USCG began issuing detainable deficiencies, known as Action Code 30, to US-flagged vessels in April 2018. Detaining a ship is designed to restrict its movements, because one or more issues were discovered that indicate a serious failure or an ineffective safety management system (SMS).
In 2018, there were 40 valid flag-state detentions, 17 of which were issued to passenger vessels, 12 towing vessels were also detained, along with six cargo vessels, four barges, and one offshore oil and gas vessel.
“Our increased focus on the SMS is to promote a proactive safety culture and increase vessel owner and operator accountability,” said Rear Admiral John Nadeau, assistant commandant for prevention policy at the USCG, in his introduction to the 2018 figures. “We will continue to refine and improve this report each year to increase its utility.”
The report found that there were 1,946 reportable marine casualty investigations in 2018 involving 1,812 vessels. Some 48% of these incidents took place on towing vessels, while 26% involved passenger vessels.