Updated 10 April 2018
In 2016 the US Coast Guard amended its CG-2692 forms in an effort to ease the burden of reporting in connection with marine casualties. As of 18 April 2018, the Coast Guard further eases the burden of reporting by increasing the monetary property damage threshold amounts for reporting marine casualties, see our alert of 10 April 2018.
On 1 July 2016, the US Coast Guard (USCG) released a new Form G-2692 for use in connection with marine casualty reporting. The new version of the form, which is the result of an initiative to overhaul the previous form and to decrease the burden of completing it, contains several changes, including the following:
Assistance in completing the forms is also available through a video “Coast Guard 2692 form introduction” (YouTube).
Members and clients with vessels operating in US waters should ensure that their fleets have available the most recent versions of the US marine casualty report forms andcommence using these immediately. It is also important to ensure that crews and operational personnel are well aware of the requirement to immediately notify the USCG of any hazardous conditions or casualties onboard, as failure to report a vessel’s hazardous condition could be considered a criminal act, see Gard Insight “US law - Crew's failure to report hazardous condition aboard vessel” of 1 May 2011.
Where to find the marine casualty report form
The most recent versions of form CG-2692 and addendums can be accessed via the USCG’s website https://www.dco.uscg.mil and the menu path: Our Organization > Assistant Commandant for Prevention Policy (CG-5P) > Inspections and Compliance (CG-5PC) > Office of Investigations & Casualty Analysis.
When to use a marine casualty report form
With few exceptions, commercial vessel operators are required to report a casualty immediately if it occurs upon the navigable waters of the US. The criteria for what constitutes a reportable incident are set out in 46 CFR 4.05-1. Groundings, bridge strikes, losses resulting in reduced vessel manoeuvrability, impacts on vessel seaworthiness or fitness for service or route, loss of life, injury requiring professional medical treatment, property damage in excess of USD 75,000, or significant harm to the environment,1 are all examples of casualties that should be reported. (The electronic Code of Federal Regulation (CFR) can be accessed using the link: www.ecfr.gov.)
A phone call or fax to the USCG typically satisfies the immediate initial notice requirement; but a formal report of the incident, in the form of CG-2692 must also be filed within five days. If the a marine casualty can be defined as a serious marine incident in accordance with 46 CFR 4.03-2 (one or more deaths, discharge of oil of 10,000 gallons or more, damage to property in excess of USD 200,000 are common examples), the report must also be supplemented by CG-2692B (report of mandatory chemical testing). In many instances it may be useful to obtain advice from the local correspondent or Gard (North America) before submitting anything in writing to the USCG.
Available guidance and interpretation
In July 2015, the USCG published Navigation and Vessel Circular, or NVIC, No. 01-15 “Title 46, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 4 Marine Casualty Reporting Procedures Guide with Associated Standard Interpretation.” The NVIC provides additional guidance for standardising the collection and reporting of marine casualty data by clarifying existing regulations, policies, and procedures. Specifically, the enclosure to the circular provides guidance on the evaluation of occurrences that may not constitute a reportable marine casualty but should be notified as a hazardous condition under 33 CFR 160.216.
One example is a fall overboard that does not result in injury or death but may create a hazardous condition when manoeuvring in congested waters. Another example is a ’bump and go‘ grounding where the vessel touches bottom momentarily without causing damage to the ship or the environment. Such incidents are now defined in the enclosure and the NVIC makes clear that hazardous conditions such as these must be reported to the USCG.
Once received, USCG will review the facts and may then advise whether it is a ‘reportable incident’, necessitating a formal incident report. If there is any doubt whether an occurrence is a reportable marine casualty, the Coast Guard strongly encourages those involved to contact the nearest Officer in Charge, Marine Inspection (OCMI), typically via the nearest Coast Guard Command Center, to determine the appropriate response.
1 Gard Insight Article: “Marine oil spills in the US – planning, response, and consequences – a visual understanding of the overall system” of 9 September 2014 may be considered useful in this respect.