This screen shot is from underwater video of the sunken El Faro, discovered in 15,000 feet of water off the Bahamas in October 2015 after it sank during Hurricane Joaquin. (NTSB video)

NTSB Releases Report Summarizing 2015 Marine Accidents

The year "brought us another grim reminder of the importance of safety in marine transportation," Chairman Christopher Hart wrote in his introduction to "Safer Seas Digest 2015."

The National Transportation Safety Board this week released its annual report summarizing marine accidents and the lessons to be learned from them. This one, titled "Safer Seas Digest 2015," is available both in print and here on NTSB's website; it examines 29 major marine casualty investigations the agency closed during 2015.

"'Safer Seas Digest 2015' represents our continuing commitment to sharing the lessons that we learn through our investigations,"’ said NTSB Chairman Christopher Hart. "Many marine accidents can be prevented when crews know of and respond to safety issues early and when crews work together effectively in the event of a crisis." The 72-page report discusses the need for better voyage planning, effective communications, and recognizing the dangers of crew fatigue.

Hart began his introduction in the report by referencing the loss of the cargo ship El Faro, which sank near the Bahamas in Hurricane Joaquin. All 33 crew members died in the sinking on Oct. 1, 2015, a event that "turned our thoughts once again to how unforgiving the sea can be and the respect it demands. Our investigation of the El Faro sinking is still ongoing, but its toll underscores the indisputable importance of safety at sea," Hart wrote.

This is the third report in this series, which he described as a "our 'one-stop shop' for mariners and others to review concise summaries of a full year's accident investigations," adding, "Since we first published Safer Seas 2013, we have heard that the yearly digests are used in crew training and safety meetings both on board and shoreside. Indeed, safety culture begins at the top; the lessons of Safer Seas Digest should be of interest not only at sea, but also in C-suites. Safer Seas Digest 2015 represents our continuing commitment to sharing the lessons that we learn through our investigations. Many marine accidents can be prevented when crews know and respond to safety issues early and when crews work together effectively in the event of a crisis."

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