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CRS — Coast Guard Polar Icebreaker Modernization: Background and Issues for Congress

June 17, 2014 Comments off

Coast Guard Polar Icebreaker Modernization: Background and Issues for Congress (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

The Coast Guard’s FY2013 budget initiated a new project for the design and construction of a new polar icebreaker. The project received $7.609 million in FY2013 and $2.0 million in FY2014. The Coast Guard’s proposed FY2015 budget requests $6 million to continue initial acquisition activities for the ship.

Coast Guard polar icebreakers perform a variety of missions supporting U.S. interests in polar regions. The Coast Guard’s two existing heavy polar icebreakers—Polar Star and Polar Sea— have exceeded their originally intended 30-year service lives. Polar Star was placed in caretaker status on July 1, 2006. Congress in FY2009 and FY2010 provided funding to repair it and return it to service for an additional 7 to 10 years of service; the repair work was completed and the ship was reactivated on December 14, 2012. On June 25, 2010, the Coast Guard announced that Polar Sea had suffered an unexpected engine casualty; the ship was unavailable for operation after that. The Coast Guard placed Polar Sea in commissioned, inactive status on October 14, 2011.

The Coast Guard’s third polar icebreaker—Healy—entered service in 2000. Compared to Polar Star and Polar Sea, Healy has less icebreaking capability (it is considered a medium polar icebreaker), but more capability for supporting scientific research. The ship is used primarily for supporting scientific research in the Arctic.

See also: Coast Guard Cutter Procurement: Background and Issues for Congress (PDF)

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U.S. Coast Guard releases report of investigation of the sinking of the tall ship Bounty

June 15, 2014 Comments off

U.S. Coast Guard releases report of investigation of the sinking of the tall ship Bounty
Source: U.S. Coast Guard

Today the U.S. Coast Guard released its report of investigation of the October 2012 sinking of the tall ship Bounty, during which one crewmember died and another remains missing and is presumed dead, off the coast of Cape Hatteras, N.C.

The findings in the report conclude that a combination of faulty management and crew risk assessment procedures contributed to the sinking. Specifically, choosing to navigate a vessel in insufficient material condition in close proximity to an approaching hurricane with an inexperienced crew was highlighted.

Deepwater Horizon Joint Investigation Team Releases Final Report

September 15, 2011 Comments off

Deepwater Horizon Joint Investigation Team Releases Final Report
Source: Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement/U.S. Coast Guard

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE)/U.S. Coast Guard Joint Investigation Team (JIT) today released its final investigative report on the April 20, 2010, Deepwater Horizon explosion, loss of life, and resulting oil spill.

The report is comprised of Volume I, covering the areas of investigation under the jurisdiction of the Coast Guard; Volume II, covering the areas of the investigation under BOEMRE jurisdiction; and a supplement to Volume I – the Final Action Memo from Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Bob Papp.

The JIT was formed on April 27, 2010, by a convening order of the Departments of the Interior and Homeland Security to investigate the causes of the Deepwater Horizon explosion, loss of life, and resulting oil spill, and to make recommendations for safe operations of future oil and gas activities on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). The JIT held seven sessions of public hearings, received testimony from more than 80 witnesses and experts, and reviewed a large number of documents and exhibits pertaining to all aspects of the investigation.

Volume I, released April 22, 2011, includes findings on five aspects of the disaster under Coast Guard jurisdiction – including the explosions on the Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit (MODU) Deepwater Horizon; the resulting fire; evacuations; the flooding and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon; and the safety systems of the MODU and its owner, Transocean. The Coast Guard’s Final Action Memo details actions directed by Adm. Papp, as a result of the JIT’s work, reflecting the Coast Guard’s commitment to all of those affected by this tragic yet historic event and underscoring its commitment to the stewardship of our maritime environment.

Volume II includes findings on the causes, both direct and contributing, of the Macondo blowout and the resulting explosion and fire aboard the Deepwater Horizon. In Volume II, the JIT details evidence developed during the investigation and concludes that BP, Transocean and Halliburton’s conduct in connection with the Deepwater Horizon disaster violated a number of federal offshore safety regulations under BOEMRE’s jurisdiction. Volume II also includes recommendations for the continued improvement of the safety of offshore operations.

PDFs

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