On May 1, 2019, the US Coast Guard concluded a year-long concentrated inspection campaign (CIC), [MSIB 04-18], focused on open lifeboats throughout the US commercial fleet as directed in the Commandant’s Final Action Memo on the 2015 sinking of the S.S. El Faro.
During the CIC, Coast Guard Marine Inspectors visited 45 US flag vessels and inspected 122 open lifeboats. The CIC mainly focused on records keeping, crew proficiency, and the material condition of the lifeboats.
US Coast Guard Marine Inspectors identified 68 deficiencies on 35 open lifeboats. Examples of the identified material deficiencies include:
- Visible cracks on the hull;
- Wastage on davits;
- Delamination and cracking on various components;
- Inoperable winches;
- Oil leaks.
In addition, because of mooring configurations, 14 ships could not launch, maneuver, and recover every open lifeboat during the CIC. For the lifeboats that could not be launched, US Coast Guard Marine Inspectors examined the other eight items described on the CIC checklist and issued an inspection requirement to launch the remaining lifeboats in the presence of a US Coast Guard Marine Inspector.
Finally, the US Coast Guard will monitor the material condition of the open lifeboats through annual inspections. It will also continue to evaluate the crew’s proficiency and the company maintenance programs to ensure lifeboats are ready for immediate use.