Nice little post!
Despite improved navigation aids, including charts and Global Positioning Systems (GPS), ships still have accidents in our nation’s waterways, and I regularly review notification reports of these accidents from the National Response Center. Sometimes I need to consult the old nautical dictionary I inherited from my grandfather (a lawyer and U.S. Navy captain) to figure out what they mean.
The U.S. Coast Guard investigates ship accidents, but they use the terms “marine casualty or accident” interchangeably [PDF]. Mariners are required to report any occurrence involving a vessel that results in:
- Reduction or loss of a vessel’s electrical power, propulsion, or steering capabilities
- Failures or occurrences, regardless of cause, which impair any aspect of a vessel’s operation, components, or cargo
- Any other circumstance that might affect or impair a vessel’s seaworthiness, efficiency, or fitness for service or route
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