Management Improvement Could Enhance Enforcement of Coast Guard Marine Safety Programs

RCED-85-59: Published: Aug 15, 1985. Publicly Released: Aug 15, 1985.

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Sarah F. Jaggar
(202) 275-1000
contact@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

GAO reviewed the Coast Guard's management of its safety enforcement actions, specifically its Commercial Vessel Safety Program and its Port and Environmental Safety Program.

GAO found that the primary data source for determining the Port and Environmental Safety Program's staffing requirements did not always show correct and consistent work-load information. Furthermore, field and district officials placed little emphasis on verifying the reported information. GAO found that: (1) Marine Safety Information System data were not always accurate or consistent; (2) Coast Guard headquarters had not provided specific guidance to the field units or conducted any oversight operations to ensure the integrity of data in the system; and (3) four units had not established adequate procedures for ensuring data quality. GAO also found that 10 of the 11 Coast Guard units which it analyzed were not maintaining follow-up systems to ensure that vessel deficiencies were corrected. In addition, GAO found that the Coast Guard failed to oversee National Cargo Bureau (NCB) inspection activities or develop guidelines regarding adequate oversight. Finally, GAO found that 10 field units failed to specify all the items for which Coast Guard regulations required inspection.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The long-range MSIS is being expanded to include an automated tickler system for ensuring that vessel deficiencies are tracked and receive follow-up. The District Inspector checklist was amended to include verification.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Commandant of the Coast Guard to establish procedures for the districts' marine safety divisions to periodically review the field units' processing of outstanding vessel deficiencies to ensure that they are following up and that corrective action is taken.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Coast Guard headquarters currently verifies MSIS data by checking it against similar data from the Quarterly Activities Report. A Commandant Instruction and changes to the MSIS Point Safety Transaction Guide prescribing review procedures were issued.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Commandant of the Coast Guard, to the extent that the Coast Guard determines necessary, to: (1) correct data-base deficiencies in the port safety module; and (2) establish procedures to ensure that all future required data are entered accurately and consistently into the long-range Marine Safety Information System.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Coast Guard published a revision to the Marine Safety Manual that contained a comprehensive system of field NCB oversight guidance.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Commandant of the Coast Guard to: (1) determine the needed oversight of NCB activities performed on behalf of the Coast Guard; and (2) develop appropriate field unit procedures and reporting requirements similar to those being planned for the American Bureau of Shipping.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Coast Guard revised and issued sections of the Marine Safety Manual which requires units to review the Quarterly Activities Report for missing or incomplete information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Commandant of the Coast Guard to issue guidance to field units prescribing methods to verify the accuracy and completeness of the Quarterly Activities Report. Such guidance could include a requirement that field units and district staffs selectively test and ensure that the data reported are accurate.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: A checklist and accompanying Commandant Instruction was finalized and issued in December 1986.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Commandant of the Coast Guard to develop a uniform checklist for use by all boarding teams conducting vessel examinations. Such a checklist should include all applicable vessel safety items specified in the Code of Federal Regulations, Coast Guard instructions, and the Coast Guard safety manual.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

 

Explore the full database of GAO's Open Recommendations »

Sep 6, 2016

Aug 24, 2016

May 26, 2016

Apr 18, 2016

Mar 24, 2016

Mar 10, 2016

Feb 4, 2016

Sep 29, 2015

Mar 25, 2015

Feb 19, 2015

Looking for more? Browse all our products here