Senior Investigating Officer: Mr. Rick Minnich (419) 418-6034
The Investigations Department investigates all reportable marine casualties, violations of law or regulation, and acts of misconduct or negligence by licensed or documented merchant mariners. These investigations seek to determine cause and detect violations of law/regulation, which contributed to the cause of the casualty. They also process the necessary paperwork for civil penalty action cases resulting from violations of inspection laws and the negligent operation of vessels. Additionally, they investigate and present before the Administrative Law Judge, when appropriate, suspension and revocation-related issues involving: alleged misconduct; negligence; incompetence by merchant mariners; and violations of dangerous drug laws. The department also actively audits the Marine Employer Chemical Testing Program to ensure compliance with these important regulations.
We investigate marine casualties and accidents to determine the causal factors, so that through regulation and education we might prevent similar incidents from recurring. We also investigate these incidents to collect evidence of misconduct, negligence, or violation of law or regulation by Coast Guard licensed, certificated, or documented members of the Merchant Marine. In these cases, we present our case before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) who can suspend or revoke a mariner’s license, or we work with the mariner to develop a joint motion, or mutually agreed upon sanction.
An IMMEDIATE report to the nearest Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit, Marine Inspection Office, or Coast Guard Group Office is required after addressing the resultant safety concerns. IMMEDIATE reports are required for the following casualties:
WRITTEN reports are required:
For each marine casualty requiring a report, the marine employer shall determine whether there is evidence of alcohol or drug use by individuals directly involved in the casualty. It is the responsibility of the marine employer to file a written report which:
For Serious Marine Incidents, drug and alcohol testing is REQUIRED.