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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation M-90-012
Details
Synopsis: ABOUT 1530, ON SEPTEMBER 15, 1988, THE 46-FOOT-LONG PASSENGER VESSEL COUGAR BEGAN TO TAKE ON WATER WHILE RETURNING FROM A FISHING TRIP OFF THE OREGON COAST. ABOARD WERE NINE PERSONS CONSISTING OF THE MASTER, THE MATE (WHO ASSISTED THE MASTER AT THE HELM), THE DECKHAND, AND SIX PASSENGERS. AN INSPECTION OF THE ENGINE COMPARTMENT AND LAZARETTE REVEALED SUBSTANTIAL FLOODING. THE PASSENGERS AND THE CREW FOUGHT THE RISING WATER WITH BUCKETS AND PUMPS FOR 1.5 HOURS WITHOUT SUCCESS. ABOUT 1615, A DISTRESS MESSAGE WAS REPEATEDLY TRANSMITTED OVER THE VESSEL'S VHF-FM AND CITIZENBAND RADIOS UNTIL THE MASTER ABANDONED THE COUGAR. ABOUT 1650, THE PASSENGERS AND CREW ABANDONED THE VESSEL. THE PASSENGER HAD SUFFICEIENT TIME TO LAUNCH A BUOYANT APPARATUS BEFORE LEAVING THE VESSEL. AT 1700, THE COUGAR SANK QUICKLY BY THE STERN. PIECES OF WRECKAGE THAT BROKE FREE OF THE VESSEL WERE GATHERED BY THE SURVIVORS AND USED TO REMAIN AFLOAT IN THE 55 DEGREES WATER. DURING THE FOLLOWING 18 HOURS, THE MASTER, THE DECKHAND, AND TWO PASSENGERS SUCCUMBED TO HYPOTHERMIA AND DROWNED. AT APPROXIMATELY 1048, ON SEPTEMBER 16, 1988, SEARCH AND RESCUE AIR UNITS OF THE U.S. COAST GUARD LOCATED THE MATE AND FOUR SURVIVING PASSENGERS. ABOUT 1100, THE FIVE SURVIVORS WERE RESCUED AND TRANSPORTED TO A HOSPITAL ASHORE FOR TREATMENT FOR HYPOTHERMIA AND EXPOSURE.
Recommendation: THE NTSB RECOMMENDS THAT THE U.S. COAST GUARD: REQUIRE THAT BILGE SYSTEMS ABOARD INSPECTED SMALL PASSENGER VESSELS BE TESTED AT EACH COAST GUARD INSPECTION.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Alternate Action
Mode: Marine
Location: Pacific Ocean, PO, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: DCA88MM061
Accident Reports:
Sinking of the Passenger vessel Cougar
Report #: MAR-90-02
Accident Date: 9/15/1988
Issue Date: 2/22/1990
Date Closed: 11/15/1993
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: USCG (Closed - Acceptable Alternate Action)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: USCG
Date: 11/15/1993
Response: THE BOARD AGREES THAT THE OPERATIONAL TESTING OF BILGE SYSTEMS SHOULD NOT BE REQUIRED AT EACH REINSPECTION AND THAT THE LEVEL OF TESTING AT A REINSPECTION SHOULD BE LEFT TO THE DISCRETION OF THE ATTENDING INSPECTOR. BECAUSE THE BILGE PUMPS ARE USUALLY TESTED DURING A REINSPECTION AND BECAUSE THE USCG INCLUDES THIS SUBJECT IN ITS CURRICULUM FOR INSPECTORS, THE BOARD BELIEVES THAT THE INTENT OF THIS RECOMMENDATION HAS BEEN MET. THEREFORE, RECOMMENDATION M-90-12 HAS BEEN CLASSIFIED "CLOSED--ACCEPTABLE ALTERNATE ACTION."

From: USCG
To: NTSB
Date: 8/19/1993
Response: WE PARTIALLY CONCUR WITH THIS RECOMMENDATION. THE OPERATION OF BILGE SYSTEMS AT EACH INSPECTION OF A SMALL PASSENGER VESSEL IS ALREADY REQUIRED BY 46 CFR 176.25-10. WE DO NOT CONSIDER IT NECESSARY TO EXTEND THIS REQUIREMENT TO INCLUDE EVERY REINSPECTION. WHILE REINSPECTIONS COVER THE SAME SCOPE AS INSPECTIONS, THEY MAY DO SO IN LESS DEPTH AND TESTS ARE AT THE DISCRETION OF THE USCG INSPECTOR. UNLESS PROBLEMS ARE SUSPECTED, A COMPLETE OPERATIONAL TEST OF THE BILGE SYSTEM IS NOT NECESSARY AT EVERY REINSPECITON. WE ANITCIPATE NO FRUTHER USCG ACTION ON THIS RECOMMENDATION AND WE REQUEST THAT IT BE CLOSED.