The U.S. Coast Guard commandant has convened a formal Marine Board of Investigation (MBI) into the loss of the U.S.-flagged amphibious passenger vessel Stretch Duck 07, which occurred on July 19 with 17 casualties and 14 survivors. A commandant-directed formal Marine Board of Investigation is the highest-level investigation in the Coast Guard.
The marine board consists of five members who will investigate all aspects of the casualty including, but not limited to, the pre-accident historical events relating to the accident, the regulatory compliance of Stretch Duck 07, crewmember duties and qualifications, weather conditions and reporting, and Coast Guard oversight.
“Our hearts go out to the victims as well as the families and friends that have been impacted by this terrible tragedy that occurred in Branson,” said Capt. Wayne Arguin, chairman of the Marine Board of Investigation. “The Coast Guard will conduct a thorough and detailed investigation to identify all potential causal factors associated with this tragedy.”
During the course of the MBI, panel members must decide:
• The factors that contributed to the accident;
• Whether there is evidence that any act of misconduct, inattention to duty, negligence or willful violation of the law on the part of any licensed or certificated person contributed to the casualty; and
• Whether there is evidence that any Coast Guard personnel or any representative or employee of any other government agency or any other person caused or contributed to the casualty.
In advance of the investigation’s findings, Rear Adm. John Nadeau, assistant commandant for prevention policy, sent a Marine Safety Information Bulletin to all Officers in Charge of Marine Inspection (OCMI), as well as vessel owners, operators, and masters, to review routes and conditions, review company operations manuals, conduct extensive crew training and drills, and encourage companies to have a proactive approach to vessel oversight.
Both the NTSB and the Coast Guard have agreed that, at this time, the NTSB will lead the marine casualty investigation effort with the Coast Guard joining as an equal partner, in accordance with Joint Federal Regulations.