3 investigations underway in Coast Guard Cutter Key Largo collision

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The Coast Guard is conducting a series of formal investigations after Tuesday’s collision involving a Coast Guard cutter and a fishing vessel off the coast of Puerto Rico.

Three separate investigations have been initiated and will review different aspects of the collision between the 110-foot Coast Guard Cutter Key Largo and a U.S. Virgin Island fishing vessel named Sea Shepherd. The incident happened at 6:38 a.m, just east of the Puerto Rican island of Vieques. No one was injured, but the Sea Shepherd sank after the collision.

The three ongoing investigations reviewing the incident are briefly described as:

A Marine Casualty Investigation led by the National Transportation Safety Board. The NTSB is an independent federal agency charged with determining the probable cause of accidents and identifying safety recommendations which will prevent similar events in the future. Coast Guard investigators will assist the NTSB team.

A Safety Analysis Investigation directed by Coast Guard headquarters to identify causal factors leading up to the mishap. This non-punitive preventative safety investigation is designed to improve risk-mitigation and identify organization and systematic changes to reduce mishaps.

An Administrative Investigation convened by the Seventh District Commander to determine accountability, assist in assessing financial claims against the Coast Guard, and identify other non-safety related issues.

“Though they’ll be looking into the same incident, the three investigations have different purposes and are clear and distinct from each other” said Capt. Michael Zamperini, deputy commander, Coast Guard Sector San Juan. “Public service requires transparency and, if warranted, accountability, which we will ensure through these investigations.”

The administrative investigation should be the first completed. The results are expected by late November.

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