personnel casualties. However, data on causes of casualties are incomplete. In addition, the CASMAIN data do not include information on the fishery in which vessels were participating when casualties occurred.

The CASMAIN data base includes different information for vessel and personnel casualties (fatalities and injuries). Relatively more information about the vessel, location of the incident, and environmental conditions at the time is provided for vessel than for personnel casualties. In general, better data are available on safety problems for documented than for undocumented vessels.

Reporting of marine casualties is required by 46 U.S.C.A. §6101. A “Report of Marine Accident, Injury, or Death” (Form CG-2692) must be filed with Coast Guard marine safety offices for all marine incidents resulting in:

  • accidental as well as intentional grounding, which creates a hazard to navigation, the environment, or the safety of the vessel;

  • loss of main propulsion or primary steering, or reduction of the vessel's maneuvering capabilities;

  • occurrences materially and adversely affecting the vessel's seaworthiness or fitness for service, such as fire, flooding, or damage to bilge pumping systems;

  • loss of life;

  • serious injury; or

  • any occurrence resulting in property damage in excess of $25,000.

Specific reporting criteria are found in 46 CFR Part 4.

Depending on the seriousness of the incident, further investigations or formal inquiries may take place. Records of these events are on file for 3 years at marine safety offices, after which they are permanently filed with the Coast Guard's Marine Safety Evaluation Branch, Marine Investigations Division, in Washington, D.C. More than 1,000 reports are filed each year for incidents on commercial fishing industry vessels. Filed with some reports are more extensive investigation records, but the thoroughness is uneven. That there is a record on file does not mean the Coast Guard was actively involved in the incident, although in many cases Coast Guard forces may have responded.

Coast Guard officials believe that the CASMAIN data base includes most fishing vessel casualties resulting in major damage to and most fatalities occurring on documented vessels. However, less serious vessel casualty incidents, such as temporary grounding or propulsion loss, may never be reported to the Coast Guard and thus may not be included in the CASMAIN data base. Similarly, many injuries are got reported. In addition, more serious incidents may not be reported if they occur on small, undocumented vessels and the Coast Guard does got become involved in providing rescue services. Thus, the CASMAIN data base may significantly understate the extent of injuries and minor vessel casualties (those not resulting in major damage) for all vessels, as well as fatalities or major vessel casualties for undocumented vessels.

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