The Investigations Division carries out all the statutorily mandated investigations of commercial vessel casualties and reports of violation that require a determination for apparent cause and culpability (fault). The findings of Coast Guard Marine Casualty Investigations are used to create safety recommendations to prevent future marine casualties. It is imperative that commercial vessel operators understand and follow the Marine Casualty reporting requirements as outlined in Title 46, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 4 (46 CFR 4). Without timely and truthful reporting, the Coast Guard is hampered in its ability to conduct an accurate investigation. Therefore, responsible parties that fail to report Marine Casualties as required by regulations are subject to civil penalties.
U.S. law, specifically Title 46, U.S. Code, Chapter 61 (Reporting Marine Casualties), Chapter 63 (Investigating Marine Casualties), and Chapter 77 (Suspension and Revocation) provide the core concepts governing the Coast Guard's responsibilities for Marine Casualties and Personnel Actions. The statutes, as written, are broad in nature and are supplemented by more extensive regulatory requirements set forth in Title 46, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 4 (Marine Casualties and Investigations) and Title 46, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 5 (Marine Investigation Regulations - Personnel Actions).
The primary purpose of an investigation is to ascertain the cause or causes of an accident, casualty, or personnel behaviors to determine if remedial measures should be taken and to determine whether any violation of Federal Law or Regulation has occurred. The U.S. Coast Guard does not conduct investigations to determine Civil Liability in disputes between private litigants. Rather, our investigations are a means to promote safety of life and property at sea and to protect the Marine Environment. The Investigations Division conducts investigations for Vessel Casualties or Accidents, Violations of Statutes the U.S. Coast Guard is authorized to enforce, incidents involving vessel personnel that may lead to Suspension and Revocation (S&R) proceedings or assessment of Civil and/or Criminal Penalties, boating accidents, Waterfront Facility Casualties and Incidents, deepwater port casualties and incidents, Marine Pollution Incidents, Accidents involving Aids to Navigation and Accidents involving structures on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). The results of such investigations play a major role in changing current and developing new laws and regulations, as well as implementing new technologies in areas of U.S. Coast Guard concern.
The Investigations Division investigates reports of negligence, misconduct, or other violations of federal laws or regulations that occur in conjunction with the operation of commercial vessels. The division also pursues enforcement action to prevent future deficiencies and non-compliance by issuing Letters of Warning and Notices of Violations, initiating Administrative Civil Penalty hearings, initiating suspension and revocation proceedings against Coast Guard issued credentials, and representing the Coast Guard at suspension and revocation hearings.
Additionally, Sector Miami's Investigations Division processes all Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. Follow this link for more information: FOIA Requests
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