Carbajal Questions Coast Guard and NTSB in Conception Boat Hearing

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Carbajal Questions Coast Guard and NTSB in Conception Boat Hearing
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Source: Office of Rep. Carbajal

Today, Rep. Salud Carbajal questioned members of the U.S. Coast Guard and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) on safety regulations and next steps related to the Conception boat fire that took 34 lives off the coast of Santa Barbara earlier this year. The questioning occurred at a House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing on maritime safety that Rep. Carbajal requested in the wake of the Conception tragedy.

Carbajal questioned the first panel of maritime safety witnesses on why the Conception was operating under outdated safety regulations, why the Coast Guard has ignored crucial NTSB regulations and what it would take for swift action to update vessel regulations.

“Why—why—do we need to wait until another tragedy to change our current safety rules?” said Carbajal at the hearing.

The first panel included Assistant Commandant for Prevention Policy for the Coast Guard Rear Admiral Richard V. Timme; Deputy Administrator of the U.S. Maritime Association Richard Balzano; and Director of the NTSB Office of Marine Safety Brian Curtis.

Carbajal chaired the second panel of the day, facilitating questions between members of Congress and witnesses, and asking about how families can seek justice for maritime fatalities. The second panel included Cruise Lines International Association Senior Vice President Vice Admiral Brian Salerno; Passenger Vessel Association Vice President Colleen Stephens; Louisiana Association for Justice President Paul Sterbcow; Offshore Marine Service Association President Aaron Smith; and American Bureau of Shipping Vice President of Health and Safety Adam Moilanen.

The results of the NTSB investigation into the Conception boat fire are expected to be released in 2020. In today’s hearing, representatives from the Coast Guard said they were also looking into Conception safety measures. Carbajal reasserted his commitment to continue pushing the Coast Guard to implement modernized safety regulations, as recommended by the NTSB.

Carbajal’s full opening statement below:

“On September 2nd, we tragically lost 34 lives when the Conception dive boat caught on fire at 3:14 a.m. off the coast of my district in California. 

“This was the worst maritime disaster in 70 years. My condolences go out to the families of those victims. 

“Let me say that I am very grateful to the Coast Guard for their help in the search and rescue operations and to the NTSB for their continued investigation into what went wrong. 

“And, while I want to recognize the Coast Guard men and women for just doing a heroic job day in and day out on their mission—and I have a number of servicemembers in my district that do an outstanding job—I must say that, when you look at the track record of implementing the NTSB’s recommendations, it is not a good track record. 

“And since, over the years, we’ve seen tragedy after tragedy after tragedy happen, and the Coast Guard has a track record of inaction.

“While it is my understanding the NTSB is still conducting their investigation, I am disturbed by some of the reporting following this tragedy. 

“Admiral Timme, I am particularly concerned by the fact that the NTSB has continuously—for many years—advocated for the Coast Guard to implement procedures for conducting regular inspections, reporting maintenance needs for all of a boat’s system and crew training. Yet the Coast Guard has ignored many of these recommendations.

“What actions has the Coast Guard taken to make sure those recommendations are implemented, and why have they not been implemented to date? 

“It has been brought to my attention that Conception was operating under ‘old T’ safety requirements—meaning they were not following the most up to date safety rules. 

“What are some of the safety implications to continue to operate under this framework? And why—why—do we need to wait until another tragedy to change our current safety rules?”

 

Rep. Salud Carbajal represents California’s 24th Congressional District that includes San Luis Obispo County, part of Ventura County and Santa Barbara County, where the Conception boat fire occurred in September 2019.

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a-1575823835 Nov 15, 2019 12:19 PM
Carbajal Questions Coast Guard and NTSB in Conception Boat Hearing

What's our liability as County TaxPayers, if Coast Guard failed to properly inspect the boat for safety? I'm on tourist boats, which don't meet safety requirements. In D.C. to Ellis Island, recently, the boat owned by a Santa Barbara area company had locked life jackets, double the number of passengers than on the capacity limit. I inquired. Was told to get off, if practices were unacceptable to me; that the vessel operates under US Dept of Interior.

Flicka Nov 15, 2019 10:44 AM
Carbajal Questions Coast Guard and NTSB in Conception Boat Hearing

I still firmly believe if someone was on night watch (awake) the fire would have been discovered when it was starting and results would have been different. Hard to believe that with a load of passengers that wasn't a rule. Common sense, even if it is or is not a law.

a-1575823835 Nov 15, 2019 02:42 PM
Carbajal Questions Coast Guard and NTSB in Conception Boat Hearing

What he's saying at 6:45 is there is no consequence. This is the fabric of law. If there is nothing preventing a person/company from legally doing something, then yes, they can do it. He's saying lawmakers need to make laws to stop recognized old and outdated mandates. But until then, he (as an attorney representing maritime lawsuits) cannot successfully represent cases. Which he is 100% biased in covering. In Louisiana mind you.

CaptainObvious Nov 15, 2019 09:52 AM
Carbajal Questions Coast Guard and NTSB in Conception Boat Hearing

271....Oh, they know the cause of the accident alright.! ... See Mr. Sternbow at ... 6:45 ... "if the vessel owner knows, regardless of the severity of the catastrophe, that it can limit its liability or walk away with no liability"... And Here at ... 8:10 ... "The notion that there is a vessel owner that needs to be protected from perils out of his control has long since passed .

a-1575823835 Nov 15, 2019 08:56 AM
Carbajal Questions Coast Guard and NTSB in Conception Boat Hearing

I see a lawmaker asking industry what the think about the law. I do not see a lawmaker speaking about what he's doing to change the law. This wouldn't be the right panel for that. As stated by Mr. Sterbcow, the law as currently written offers the insurance industry protections from being held liable. So a boat has to have insurance, but it's not likely (under the law) that liabilities will amount from an accident. So Mr. Carbajal, beyond this PR piece designed to make you look authoritative (outside your reading directly from your staffs' preparation sheet), what are you going to do about it? Mr. Carbajal, YOU ARE THE LAW MAKER. The owners of any boating company are not at fault (either legally or personally) for running operations within the letter of the law. So is this grandstanding? Carve something out that will cover the families of these victims. And dig a little deeper in your daily duties to find resolve for setting new standards.

a-1575823835 Nov 15, 2019 02:36 PM
Carbajal Questions Coast Guard and NTSB in Conception Boat Hearing

Is it produced? Yes. Is it a video piece? Yes. Was it released by Rep. Carbajal's YouTube account? Yes. Are you aware of these things? Perhaps not. If you're going to accept POV of others as being absolute without defining the position of that point of view you'll leave yourself subject to exploitation.

a-1575823835 Nov 15, 2019 10:55 AM
Carbajal Questions Coast Guard and NTSB in Conception Boat Hearing

Where do you concoct this rhetoric Mr. Alec? All I'm reading in your earnest retort is emotional revocation and distortion. If your focus is solely on smart people searching for resolution (and thus discussing solutions), then it can be said that this post-catastrophe dialog is a dollar late and many decades short. Mr. Carbajal, here, in this produced video piece, is doing nothing of the sort. Does it not cause curiosity that the chosen panel of experts doesn't include even one person from California? The state Mr. Carbajal lives in and which also has the largest coastline of all states? Additionally, there is nearly zero protections for elected officials to not be challenged. In fact, it is your duty as a citizen (who's been assigned representation) to push them. And push them hard. Tear them down? That's a stretch. Dialog in this forum does little for that. The over arching responsibility is to not tippy toe through the reality that there is little coming in terms of what has happened. He should say it, not coddle some obscure possibility. And if Mr. Carbajal wants to be at the forefront of instituting change for maritime laws that are decades old, then he should charge at it. From appearance, I'm not even sure he's aware of his intention.

Alexblue Nov 15, 2019 09:24 AM
Carbajal Questions Coast Guard and NTSB in Conception Boat Hearing

377--I am always amazed at people who think a single government official can snap their fingers and make all the bad things go away, while you likely at the same time blame "big government" and the "nanny state" for a range of perceived problems. It's early in the process. Intelligent people gather information and ask questions in order to plan for and execute changes. He is asking good questions, which is exactly what he should be doing right now. Next step is modernizing our Maritime safety regulations, relevant legislation, and inspections. But it is so much easier to do what you're doing, i.e., tearing down an elected official and our government without understanding process or contributing to it.

CaptainObvious Nov 15, 2019 09:13 AM
Carbajal Questions Coast Guard and NTSB in Conception Boat Hearing

We shall see the "Truth", in all of her shining glory I assure ye. The threat of floggings, keel haulings and plank walkings has ne'er let any good navy down.! Especially when plunderin the "Truth" from depths of the bilge. May Poseidon himself save our souls when the "Truth" sounds like this... El jefe que siempre dice, "desconecte siempre todos los cables antes de que llegue la guardia costera o cada vez que limpie."

CaptainObvious Nov 15, 2019 08:34 AM
Carbajal Questions Coast Guard and NTSB in Conception Boat Hearing

Aye Aye Guvna. Keepin his cutlass asheathed until its time for the swashbukl'n' to commence. I may have heard the Admiral say, "Mr. Sterncow, Mr. Carbajal, ye yardarms and hawsers were prepared immediately, Sir, and both are ready and standing by, awaiting your command Sir.!!!"

CaptainObvious Nov 15, 2019 01:12 AM
Carbajal Questions Coast Guard and NTSB in Conception Boat Hearing

............. “It has been brought to my attention that Conception was operating under ‘old T’ safety requirements—meaning (1978 Standards) they were not following the most up to date (1979) safety rules. ( because they are the type of people who think of their passengers as CARGO, and would rather payout low-ball settlements after long drawn out court battles, with grieving families. ) ................. “What are some of the safety implications to continue to operate under this framework? ( High profit margins for people unscrupulous people operating such death traps) And why—why—do we need to wait until another tragedy to change our current safety rules?” ( Because the cost of changing the law far outweighs the cost of dragging these families through endless lawsuits while murderers walk free and wealthy. Example: (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camp_Fire_(2018)

CaptainObvious Nov 15, 2019 12:16 AM
Carbajal Questions Coast Guard and NTSB in Conception Boat Hearing

Nare thar be a seamen amongst thee, whom would willing spend a single night in "Pandoras Box". Yet, every seaman, salt and swab, from Greenwich to the Sandwich Islands, used to spend his weeks hard earned pay trying to get into "Conception's Box". Those days are gone forever. Yaargh!

CaptainObvious Nov 14, 2019 11:43 PM
Carbajal Questions Coast Guard and NTSB in Conception Boat Hearing

All Hands On Deck!!, Cause thar be some "TRUTH" a tellin, And it be as grim as the black spot itself. In the minds of the Glen and Dana Fritzler, people, human beings, fathers, mothers, children and loved ones with families and friends and lives and futures,..... were never ever, ever, ever, ever!, anything more than "PENDING FREIGHT". Yeaaargh!!!!, "PENDING FREIGHT", according to a law written before slavery.!!!! A law the Fritzlers tried to use to shirk responsibility. A law the Fritzlers tried to use to retain thier wealth!!!!!!! A law the Fritzlers tried to use to absolve themselves of greed and murderous negligence.!!!!!.. Here I present that law before ye (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Limitation_of_Liability_Act_of_1851) ...

CaptainObvious Nov 14, 2019 11:57 PM
Carbajal Questions Coast Guard and NTSB in Conception Boat Hearing

Only a true scallywag, or a human slave trader, can pillage human life like this!! ... (https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/pending) ... open, undecided, undetermined, unresolved, unsettled, hanging, arguable, debatable, disputable, moot, uncertain, unsure. ....................or this ....................... (https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/freight) ... burden, cargo, draft, haul, lading, load, loading, payload, weight, consignment, boatload, carload, shipload, trainload, truckload, wagonload, ballast, deadweight, overload, surcharge, bale, bundle, pack, package, packet, parcel, shipment, manifest, body, bulk, mass. ... .

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