Coast Guard and NTSB sign updated Memorandum of Understanding regarding investigations and related issues – Homeland Security Today



The Coast Guard and the National Transportation Safety Board signed an updated Memorandum of Understanding on June 17, 2021, to institutionalize best practices developed in recent joint investigations, including EL FARO, STRETCH DUCK 7, GOLDEN RAY and CONCEPTION.

Admiral Karl Schultz, Commander of the US Coast Guard, and the Honorable Robert Sumwalt, Chairman of the NTSB, signed for their respective agencies.

The NTSB and the Coast Guard have entered into this Memorandum of Understanding to facilitate timely cooperation between agencies in carrying out their respective statutory missions. The MOU is intended to help determine which agency will be responsible for certain major marine accidents and accidents involving public and non-public vessels. The main objective is to establish standard procedures for inter-agency communication, cooperation and coordination. A unified inter-agency approach during the fact-finding and evidence-gathering phase of a marine casualty investigation best serves the maritime community and the public.

The updated MOU replaces a 2008 USCG-NTSB MOU, which was a valuable tool in ensuring that the two agencies work collaboratively and effectively, especially during the often demanding early stages of an incident. .

Important changes include.

  • Arrangements for NTSB interaction with GC led incident response operations in accordance with GC Incident Command System (ICS) protocols.
  • Protocols for the NTSB to use its Transportation Disaster Assistance (TDA) resources to provide support to next of kin when the GC is the lead in the investigation.
  • Procedures for NTSB participation and support of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Investigative Laboratory where the GC participates as a US Federal Authority designated as a State of Substantial Interest (SIS).
  • Addition of four new annexes:
    • Annex 1 – Protocols for sharing and public dissemination of information during marine accident investigation.
    • Annex 2 – Coordination of public affairs during a marine accident investigation.
    • Appendix Three – USCG SAR Effort Cooperation and NTSB Investigations, Including Aircraft Accidents.
    • Annex four – Cooperation for cyber investigation actions.

The full MOU is available for viewing and downloading at the link below.

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