When USCG are involved in boating accidents, as we have seen recently, they are excused by their peers in the USCG jury, even when deaths have occurred, to a point of miscarriage of justice.
With this background is it any wonder since the USCG are the Flag State and Port State enforcers of international maritime safety rules and regulations in the United States that a change has occurred.
The Det Norske Veritas (DNV) President Tor E. Svensen stated:
"Year on year improvement in ship safety is now turning into a negative trend. This is extremely worrying and requires a stronger focus on competence development both onboard and onshore. Statistics show that the accident frequency has started rising from a historic low. This trend is supported by increased pay-out from insurance companies. Technology, rules and compliance will never bring us to the expected level of safety without focusing stronger on the human element."
Of course his remarks were addressed to a worldwide trend thus includes the United States which with a little effort could be a leading example to maritime nations. The recent grounding of the MS Oliva on Spinners Point in the Tristan da Cunha Group is perhaps an indication of how far basic skills and safety have sunk to. When a vessel can end up so far out of position in the middle of this island group on a course from Santos, Brazil to the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa is unbelievable, fails any navigational explanation and boggles the mind of any seafarer with just basic experience. Adding this DNV report on the safety shambles to the debacle of the counter piracy efforts one can see that these are not good times for either world trade or seafarers.
Please remember the seafarers held captive by pirates off Somalia - let us work with India to free them.