A bill is to be debated in Congress that will potentially see the powers of the US Coast Guard ramped up in the wake of the El Faro sinking nearly three years ago.
The bill would among other things, require Coast Guard commandant Admiral Karl Schultz to create a report estimating what it would cost to triple the staff for the Coast Guard’s traveling inspection team. That team double checks vessel surveys. The bill would also require the Coast Guard to post a list of failed inspections or discrepancies online.
The 1975-built El Faro sank in October 2015 with the loss of 33 lives. The ship sinking sparked a massive investigation which has broadened out into a more in depth look at the whole of the US merchant fleet.
In addition to more closely regulating ship inspections, the bill directly addresses ship stability and condition concerns by requiring a review of policies for documenting major ship conversions and how ships’ weight and stability are calculated and monitored.