Lax SMFF Enforcement a ‘Disaster Waiting to Happen’
A top U.S. Coast Guard official said at a recent congressional oversight hearing that the Coast Guard “has not been aggressively enforcing the compliance” of vessel response plans filed under federal Salvage and Marine Firefighting (SMFF) regulations.
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U.S. Coast Guard Admiral Admits to Not “Aggressively Enforcing” Firefighting Rules
A top U.S. Coast Guard official admitted at a recent congressional oversight hearing that the U.S. Coast Guard “has not been aggressively enforcing the compliance” of vessel response plans filed under federal Salvage and Marine Firefighting (SMFF) regulations. The rules, derived from the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, are meant to prevent a worst-case discharge […]
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The final rule of SMFF regulations
The Coast Guard is amending the vessel response plan salvage and marine firefighting requirements for tank vessels carrying oil. These revisions clarify the salvage and marine firefighting services that must be identified in vessel response plans and set new response time requirements for each of the required salvage and marine firefighting services.
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Downloadable Reports
U.S. Salvage and Fire Fighting Capabilities Questioned
BY MAREX 2018-03-08 20:06:34  Rapid Ocean Response Corporation has encouraged vessel owners to consult with their legal counsel regarding the validity of the contracts they owners rely upon with their salvage and firefighting response resource providers. The company notes that a panel comprised of former U.S. Coast Guard admirals, marine safety experts and senior attorneys has concluded that vessel owners’ ability to comply with the Clean Water Act and related salvage and marine firefighting regulations in two Captain of the Port Zones is highly doubtful.
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Marine Safety Experts Conduct Independent Verification of SMFF Response Resources
The overarching conclusion of the Panel is that marine firefighting efforts cannot be properly planned for within the allotted timeframes spelled out in the salvage and marine firefighting regulations, particularly in longer distance responses both nearshore and offshore. The Panel concludes that neither the intent, nor the regulatory mandates of the SMFF regulations are being met due to a lack of effective verification methodology and effort by the Coast Guard, response resource providers, and vessel owners and operators. To request full report please email
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Baltic Sea MIRG Project 2014 – 2016 Ship Fire Incident Analysis Report
"A fire on a ship at sea is always serious and dangerous. The crew of the ship and any external help dispatched to assist with the situation must take rapid and appropriate steps to extinguish or limit the fire. External on-scene help led to a good outcome in all the analysed cases, without exception. The greatest challenge is the response time of MIRG teams in their deployment to the scene of the incident, which is heavily linked not only to the location of the incident but also to where the MIRG teams and SAR helicopters are stationed, and the co-operation between them and the RCCs."
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Grey Shark fire report by NYFD
On March 14, 2015, the Master of Vessel, Captain Victor Tarasov, reported that the Grey Shark had developed engine trouble and was directed by its owners to return to New York City for repairs. The next night, the Grey Shark lost its second engine, putting it at the mercy of the mid-March Atlantic Ocean. Winds were whipping at 20-25 knots, with five- to nine-foot waves and swells up to 14 feet. With no ability to maneuver, the ship was pounded by the waves. The cargo on the trailer deck shifted under the harsh conditions and a loaded trailer broke free and overturned on top of another vehicle, causing a fire.
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