Coast Guard announces award winners for Excellence in Marine Investigations – Homeland Security Today

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The Coast Guard announced the winners of the Congressman James Sener Award for Excellence in Marine Investigations. The investigators cited below are recognized for having conducted the most distinguished investigations into marine accidents for CY20.

The Coast Guard’s Marine Investigations Program has been a critical part of its maritime security activities since 1838, when the program’s predecessor, the Steamboat Inspection Service, was established. In 1832 alone, about 14 percent of steamships in service were destroyed by explosions which also killed over 1,000 people. The conditions that led to these explosions occurred in large part because there were no inspection standards in place. In some cases, browser incompetence, negligence and / or misconduct were causal factors. As a result, the US Congress established inspection laws and created the Steamboat Inspection Service. Congressman James Sener of Virginia sponsored the legislation that created the Modern Marine Investigations Program on June 20, 1874. Congressman Sener’s Bill established an exceptionally effective system for identifying and eliminating dangerous conditions in the maritime transport system. The Sener Award honors and recalls his contribution to the safety of sailors, ships and the marine environment by recognizing truly exceptional marine accident investigations.

The Sener Award’s Platinum level criteria recognize superior investigative prowess in Major Marine Accident Investigation (MMC), while the Gold level recognizes outstanding investigative work carried out on incidents that fall below the MMC level.

The following teams are the 2020 winners of the Congressman James Sener Award for Excellence in
Maritime surveys:

Platinum MISLE case / vessel: 6291947 / BOUCHARD BARGE B NO. 255
FIRE EXPLOSION AND LOSS OF LIFE
Convening Authority: Commander, Eighth Coast Guard District
Principal Investigator: Mr. Bruce Davies
Investigation Team: LCDR Mary Gilday, LCDR Geralyn van de
Kroll and CWO4 Jess Farmer

Platinum MISLE Enclosure / Vessel: 6618087 / SINKING OF THE COMMERCIAL
MASTER FISHING BOAT WITH LOSS OF LIFE
Convening Authority: Southeastern New England Sector
Principal Investigator: LCDR Amanda Styles
Investigation team: CWO 2 Jean-Pierre Freeman, and
Mr. Michael St. Louis

Gold MISLE Enclosure / Vessel: 6351522 / COMMERCIAL TOWING VESSEL
NC2305BR HEATING WITH LOSS OF LIFE
Convening authority: North Carolina sector
Principal Investigator: LT Jacob Aulner
Investigative Team: LCDR William Hickey, Lieutenant John Packard,
LTJG Evan Bledsoe, and Mr. Hector Pacheco

Honorable Mention MISLE Case / Vessel: 6442135 / DIVERSION LOSS
OF LIFE
Convening Authority: North Carolina Sector
Principal Investigator: LT Jacob Aulner
Investigation Team: CWO 4 David Getchell

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