Washington, DC – Today, Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-CA) announced the introduction of the Coast Guard Safety and Accountability Act (H.R. 509), which would require the U.S. Coast Guard to promptly respond to recommendations from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
“In the aftermath of the tragic Conception boat fire, that resulted in the deaths of 34 individuals off the shores of California’s Central Coast, we learned a lot about the shortcomings of our nautical safety regulations,” said Congresswoman Julia Brownley. “We owe it to the families and loved ones of the 34 souls lost to ensure the Coast Guard responds and takes adequate action to address current and future NTSB safety recommendations. This change to current law will save lives. The Coast Guard is responsible for the implementation and enforcement of critical safety rules, including passenger vessel safety, so it makes no sense to exempt the Coast Guard from requirements to respond to NTSB recommendations.”
Under current law, U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) agencies are required to respond to NTSB safety recommendations in a prompt manner. While these requirements apply to DOT agencies, the U.S. Coast Guard – which is under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security – is not subject to this requirement.
In 2010, NTSB issued a safety recommendation for all operators of U.S.-flag passenger vessels to implement Safety Management Systems (SMS). Despite repeated NTSB inquiries about the recommendation and passage of legislation in the 111th Congress allowing the U.S. Coast Guard to require SMS, the U.S. Coast Guard had still not finalized such regulations.
In the final report on the Conception boat disaster, NTSB issued seven new safety recommendations to the U.S. Coast Guard to prevent a similar tragedy from occurring again. If enacted, Brownley’s bill would mandate that the Coast Guard respond promptly to such recommendations.
Read the text of the bill, here.