[USC02] 46 USC Subtitle II, Part D: Marine Casualties
Result 1 of 1
   
 
46 USC Subtitle II, Part D: Marine Casualties
From Title 46—SHIPPINGSubtitle II—Vessels and Seamen

Part D—Marine Casualties

CHAPTER 61—REPORTING MARINE CASUALTIES

Sec.
6101.
Marine casualties and reporting.
6102.
State marine casualty reporting system.
6103.
Penalty.
6104.
Commercial fishing industry vessel casualty statistics.

        

Historical and Revision Notes

Chapter 61 provides for the reporting of marine casualties and incidents involving all United States flag vessels occurring anywhere in the world and any foreign flag vessel operating on waters subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.

Amendments

1988Pub. L. 100–424, §4(c), Sept. 9, 1988, 102 Stat. 1591, added item 6104.

§6101. Marine casualties and reporting

(a) The Secretary shall prescribe regulations on the marine casualties to be reported and the manner of reporting. The regulations shall require reporting the following marine casualties:

(1) death of an individual.

(2) serious injury to an individual.

(3) material loss of property.

(4) material damage affecting the seaworthiness or efficiency of the vessel.

(5) significant harm to the environment.


(b) A marine casualty shall be reported within 5 days as provided in this part and regulations prescribed under this part. Each report filed under this section shall include information as to whether the use of alcohol contributed to the casualty.

(c) Notice to State and Tribal Governments.—Not later than 24 hours after receiving a notice of a major marine casualty under this section, the Secretary shall notify each State or federally recognized Indian tribe that is, or may reasonably be expected to be, affected by such marine casualty.

(d)(1) This part applies to a foreign vessel when involved in a marine casualty on the navigable waters of the United States.

(2) This part applies, to the extent consistent with generally recognized principles of international law, to a foreign vessel constructed or adapted to carry, or that carries, oil in bulk as cargo or cargo residue involved in a marine casualty described under subsection (a)(4) or (5) in waters subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, including the Exclusive Economic Zone.

(e) A marine casualty not resulting in the death of an individual shall be classified according to the gravity of the casualty, as prescribed by regulation, giving consideration to the extent of injuries to individuals, the extent of property damage, the dangers that the casualty creates, and the size, occupation, and means of propulsion of each vessel involved.

(f)(1) This chapter applies to a marine casualty involving a United States citizen on a foreign passenger vessel operating south of 75 degrees north latitude, west of 35 degrees west longitude, and east of the International Date Line; or operating in the area south of 60 degrees south latitude that—

(A) embarks or disembarks passengers in the United States; or

(B) transports passengers traveling under any form of air and sea ticket package marketed in the United States.


(2) When there is a marine casualty described in paragraph (1) of this subsection and an investigation is conducted, the Secretary shall ensure that the investigation—

(A) is thorough and timely; and

(B) produces findings and recommendations to improve safety on passenger vessels.


(3) When there is a marine casualty described in paragraph (1) of this subsection, the Secretary may—

(A) seek a multinational investigation of the casualty under auspices of the International Maritime Organization; or

(B) conduct an investigation of the casualty under chapter 63 of this title.


(g) To the extent consistent with generally recognized practices and procedures of international law, this part applies to a foreign vessel involved in a marine casualty or incident, as defined in the International Maritime Organization Code for the Investigation of Marine Casualties and Incidents, where the United States is a Substantially Interested State and is, or has the consent of, the Lead Investigating State under the Code.

(h) The Secretary shall publish all major marine casualty reports prepared in accordance with this section in an electronic form, and shall provide information electronically regarding how other marine casualty reports can be obtained.

(i) For purposes of this section, the term "major marine casualty" means a casualty involving a vessel, other than a public vessel, that results in—

(1) the loss of 6 or more lives;

(2) the loss of a mechanically propelled vessel of 100 or more gross tons;

(3) property damage initially estimated at $2,000,000 or more; or

(4) serious threat, as determined by the Commandant with concurrence by the Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, to life, property, or the environment by hazardous materials.


(j) The Secretary shall publish all marine casualty reports prepared in accordance with this section in an electronic form.

(Pub. L. 98–89, Aug. 26, 1983, 97 Stat. 536; Pub. L. 98–498, title II, §212(b)(1), Oct. 19, 1984, 98 Stat. 2306; Pub. L. 98–557, §7(b)(1), Oct. 30, 1984, 98 Stat. 2862; Pub. L. 101–380, title IV, §4106(b), Aug. 18, 1990, 104 Stat. 513; Pub. L. 102–241, §33, Dec. 19, 1991, 105 Stat. 2222; Pub. L. 107–295, title IV, §§423, 442(a), Nov. 25, 2002, 116 Stat. 2125, 2132; Pub. L. 109–241, title IX, §901(o), July 11, 2006, 120 Stat. 565; Pub. L. 109–304, §15(21), Oct. 6, 2006, 120 Stat. 1704; Pub. L. 110–181, div. C, title XXXV, §3529(c)(1), Jan. 28, 2008, 122 Stat. 603; Pub. L. 113–281, title III, §312, Dec. 18, 2014, 128 Stat. 3048; Pub. L. 115–232, div. C, title XXXV, §§3541(b)(11), 3546(d), Aug. 13, 2018, 132 Stat. 2323, 2326; Pub. L. 115–265, title II, §211, Oct. 11, 2018, 132 Stat. 3749.)

Historical and Revision Notes
Revised sectionSource section (U.S. Code)
6101 46:239

46:1486

33:361

33:365

6101(b) 33:362

Section 6101(a) requires the Secretary to prescribe regulations on the types and manner of reporting of marine casualties to be reported under subsection (b) and incidents to be reported under subsection (c). The casualties to be reported must include casualties involving death to an individual, serious injury to an individual, material loss of property, and any damage affecting the seaworthiness or efficiency of the vessel, in addition to the other casualties (if any) the Secretary feels should be reported.

Subsection (b) requires the owner, charterer, agent, master, operator, or individual in charge of a vessel to report within 5 days, any casualty required in subsection (a) or by regulation.

Subsection (c) requires the owner, charterer, managing operator, or agent of a U.S. vessel to immediately determine the status of their vessel if they have not heard from the vessel, if it has not passed a scheduled point, or for any other reason which may indicate the vessel may have been lost or imperiled. If the owner, charterer, managing operator, or agent cannot reach the vessel and determine that it is operating safely, then they shall immediately notify the Coast Guard and provide the Coast Guard with the name and number of the vessel, the names of individuals on board, and any other information that the Coast Guard may request. If communication with the vessel indicates the vessel was involved in a casualty, then the owner, charterer, or agent of the vessel must immediately notify the Coast Guard under subsection (b). Notification to the Coast Guard does not impose or create any additional responsibility for the Coast Guard to take search and rescue action beyond those already existing under title 14, United States Code.

Subsection (d) makes it clear that the reporting requirements under subsection (b) are applicable to foreign vessels involved in a marine casualty when operating on the navigable waters of the United States, whether in innocent passage or not.

Subsection (e) provides for the classification of marine casualties by regulation according to the gravity of the casualty, injuries to individuals, property damage, dangers created, and size, occupation, and means of propulsion of each vessel.

Amendments

2018—Subsec. (i)(3). Pub. L. 115–265 substituted "$2,000,000" for "$500,000".

Subsec. (i)(4). Pub. L. 115–232, §3541(b)(11), struck out "of the Coast Guard" after "Commandant".

Subsec. (j). Pub. L. 115–232, §3546(d), struck out ", as soon as possible, and no later than January 1, 2005," after "The Secretary shall".

2014—Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 113–281, §312(1), added subsec. (c).

Subsecs. (h), (i). Pub. L. 113–281, §312(2), in subsec. (h), struck out "(1)" before "The Secretary" and redesignated par. (2) as subsec. (i) and, in subsec. (i), substituted "section" for "paragraph" in introductory provisions and redesignated former subpars. (A) to (D) as pars. (1) to (4), respectively. Former subsec. (i) redesignated (j).

Subsec. (j). Pub. L. 113–281, §312(3), resesignated subsec. (i) as (j).

2008—Subsecs. (g) to (i). Pub. L. 110–181 repealed Pub. L. 109–304, §15(21). See 2006 Amendment notes below.

2006—Subsecs. (g) to (i). Pub. L. 109–304, §15(21), which directed amendment identical to that made by Pub. L. 109–241, was repealed by Pub. L. 110–181. See Construction of 2006 Amendment note below.

Pub. L. 109–241 redesignated the second subsec. (g), relating to electronic publishing of marine casualty reports, and subsec. (h) as subsecs. (h) and (i), respectively.

2002—Subsecs. (e), (f). Pub. L. 107–295, §423(1), redesignated subsec. (e), relating to passenger vessel investigations, as subsec. (f).

Subsec. (g). Pub. L. 107–295, §442(a), added subsec. (g) relating to electronic publishing of marine casualty reports.

Pub. L. 107–295, §423(2), added subsec. (g) relating to applicability of this part to a foreign vessel involved in a marine casualty or incident.

Subsec. (h). Pub. L. 107–295, §442(a), added subsec. (h).

1991—Subsec. (e). Pub. L. 102–241 added subsec. (e) relating to passenger vessel investigations.

1990—Subsec. (a)(5). Pub. L. 101–380, §4106(b)(1), added par. (5).

Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 101–380, §4106(b)(2), designated existing provisions as par. (1) and added par. (2).

1984—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 98–498, §212(b)(1)(A), struck out "and incidents" after "marine casualties" in provisions preceding par. (1).

Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 98–557 inserted provisions relating to alcohol as a contributing factor to the casualty.

Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 98–498, §212(b)(1)(B), struck out subsec. (c) which related to determination of status of a vessel that may be lost or imperiled and notification of the Coast Guard.

Effective Date of 2002 Amendment

Pub. L. 107–295, title IV, §442(b), Nov. 25, 2002, 116 Stat. 2132, provided that: "The amendment made by subsection (a) [amending this section] applies to all marine casualty reports completed after the date of enactment of this Act [Nov. 25, 2002]."

Effective Date of 1990 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 101–380 applicable to incidents occurring after Aug. 18, 1990, see section 1020 of Pub. L. 101–380, set out as an Effective Date note under section 2701 of Title 33, Navigation and Navigable Waters.

Effective Date of 1984 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 98–498 effective 180 days after Oct. 1, 1984, see section 214 of Pub. L. 98–498, set out as an Effective Date note under section 2306 of this title.

Construction of 2006 Amendment

Provisions of Pub. L. 109–304 repealed by section 3529(c)(1) of Pub. L. 110–181 to be treated as if never enacted, see section 3529(c)(2) of Pub. L. 110–181, set out as a note under section 9504 of Title 26, Internal Revenue Code.

Transfer of Functions

For transfer of authorities, functions, personnel, and assets of the Coast Guard, including the authorities and functions of the Secretary of Transportation relating thereto, to the Department of Homeland Security, and for treatment of related references, see sections 468(b), 551(d), 552(d), and 557 of Title 6, Domestic Security, and the Department of Homeland Security Reorganization Plan of November 25, 2002, as modified, set out as a note under section 542 of Title 6.

§6102. State marine casualty reporting system

(a) The Secretary shall prescribe regulations for a uniform State marine casualty reporting system for vessels. Regulations shall prescribe the casualties to be reported and the manner of reporting. A State shall compile and submit to the Secretary reports, information, and statistics on casualties reported to the State, including information and statistics concerning the number of casualties in which the use of alcohol contributed to the casualty.

(b) The Secretary shall collect, analyze, and publish reports, information, and statistics on marine casualties together with findings and recommendations the Secretary considers appropriate. If a State marine casualty reporting system provides that information derived from casualty reports (except statistical information) may not be publicly disclosed, or otherwise prohibits use by the State or any person in any action or proceeding against a person, the Secretary may use the information provided by the State only in the same way that the State may use the information.

(Pub. L. 98–89, Aug. 26, 1983, 97 Stat. 536; Pub. L. 98–557, §7(b)(2), Oct. 30, 1984, 98 Stat. 2862.)

Historical and Revision Notes
Revised sectionSource section (U.S. Code)
6102 46:1486

Section 6102(a) requires the Secretary to prescribe regulations for a uniform State marine casualty reporting system for vessels. The Secretary may limit the scope and types of casualties to be investigated and reported by the State. It also requires the State to submit to the Secretary reports, information, and statistics on casualties reported to the State.

Subsection (b) requires the Secretary to analyze the information that is received from the State. It also prohibits the Secretary from disclosing the information, proceeding against any person based on this information, or otherwise using the information, if the State cannot use the information in the same way.

Amendments

1984—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 98–557 inserted provisions relating to alcohol as a contributing factor to the casualty.

Plan To Increase Marine Casualty Reporting

Pub. L. 104–324, title III, §314(a), Oct. 19, 1996, 110 Stat. 3922, provided that: "Not later than one year after enactment of this Act [Oct. 19, 1996], the Secretary of Transportation shall, in consultation with appropriate State agencies, submit to the Committee on Resources [now Committee on Natural Resources] of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate a plan to increase reporting of vessel accidents to appropriate State law enforcement officials."

§6103. Penalty

(a) An owner, charterer, managing operator, agent, master, or individual in charge of a vessel failing to report a casualty as required under section 6101 of this title or a regulation prescribed under section 6101 or 6102 is liable to the United States Government for a civil penalty of not more than $25,000.

(b) A person failing to comply with section 6104 of this title or a regulation prescribed under that section is liable to the Government for a civil penalty of not more than $5,000.

(Pub. L. 98–89, Aug. 26, 1983, 97 Stat. 536; Pub. L. 98–498, title II, §212(b)(2), Oct. 19, 1984, 98 Stat. 2306; Pub. L. 100–424, §4(b), Sept. 9, 1988, 102 Stat. 1590; Pub. L. 104–324, title III, §§306(a), 314(b), Oct. 19, 1996, 110 Stat. 3918, 3922.)

Historical and Revision Notes
Revised sectionSource section (U.S. Code)
6103 33:361

33:362

Section 6103 provides for a civil penalty of $1,000 for any owner, charterer, managing operator, agent, master, or individual in charge of a vessel that fails to report a casualty required to be reported under subsection (b) of section 6101 or an incident required to be reported under subsection (c) of section 6101.

Amendments

1996—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 104–324 inserted "or 6102" before "is liable" and substituted "not more than $25,000" for "$1,000".

1988Pub. L. 100–424 designated existing provisions as subsec. (a) and added subsec. (b).

1984Pub. L. 98–498 struck out "or incident" after "a casualty".

Effective Date of 1984 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 98–498 effective 180 days after Oct. 19, 1984, see section 214 of Pub. L. 98–498, set out as an Effective Date note under section 2306 of this title.

§6104. Commercial fishing industry vessel casualty statistics

(a) The Secretary shall compile statistics concerning marine casualties from data compiled from insurers of fishing vessels, fish processing vessels, and fish tender vessels.

(b) A person underwriting primary insurance for a fishing vessel, fish processing vessel, or fish tender vessel shall submit periodically to the Secretary data concerning marine casualties that is required by regulations prescribed by the Secretary.

(c) After consulting with the insurance industry, the Secretary shall prescribe regulations under this section to gather a statistical base for analyzing vessel risks.

(d) The Secretary may delegate to a qualified person that has knowledge and experience in the collection of statistical insurance data the authority of the Secretary under this section to compile statistics from insurers.

(Added Pub. L. 100–424, §4(a), Sept. 9, 1988, 102 Stat. 1590.)

CHAPTER 63—INVESTIGATING MARINE CASUALTIES

Sec.
6301.
Investigation of marine casualties.
6302.
Public investigations.
6303.
Rights of parties in interest.
6304.
Subpena authority.
6305.
Reports of investigations.
6306.
Penalty.
6307.
Notifications to Congress.
6308.
Information barred in legal proceedings.
6309.
Voyage data recorder access.

        

Historical and Revision Notes

Chapter 63 sets forth the scope and procedures for the investigation of marine casualties and incidents that are required to be reported by Chapter 61, as well as the rights of parties involved in a casualty.

Amendments

2018Pub. L. 115–265, title II, §207(b), Oct. 11, 2018, 132 Stat. 3747, added item 6309.

1996Pub. L. 104–324, title III, §313(b), Oct. 19, 1996, 110 Stat. 3922, added item 6308.

§6301. Investigation of marine casualties

The Secretary shall prescribe regulations for the immediate investigation of marine casualties under this part to decide, as closely as possible—

(1) the cause of the casualty, including the cause of any death;

(2) whether an act of misconduct, incompetence, negligence, unskillfulness, or willful violation of law committed by any individual licensed, certificated, or documented under part E of this subtitle has contributed to the cause of the casualty, or to a death involved in the casualty, so that appropriate remedial action under chapter 77 of this title may be taken;

(3) whether an act of misconduct, incompetence, negligence, unskillfulness, or willful violation of law committed by any person, including an officer, employee, or member of the Coast Guard, contributed to the cause of the casualty, or to a death involved in the casualty;

(4) whether there is evidence that an act subjecting the offender to a civil penalty under the laws of the United States has been committed, so that appropriate action may be undertaken to collect the penalty;

(5) whether there is evidence that a criminal act under the laws of the United States has been committed, so that the matter may be referred to appropriate authorities for prosecution; and

(6) whether there is need for new laws or regulations, or amendment or repeal of existing laws or regulations, to prevent the recurrence of the casualty.

(Pub. L. 98–89, Aug. 26, 1983, 97 Stat. 537.)

Historical and Revision Notes
Revised sectionSource section (U.S. Code)
6301 46:239

Section 6301 requires the Secretary to prescribe regulations for the immediate investigation of marine casualties in order to determine, as closely as possible, the cause of the casualty; whether the actions of individuals licensed, certificated, or documented have contributed to the cause of the casualty, whether the action of an individual in the Coast Guard contributed to the cause of the casualty, whether there is evidence that an act subjecting the offender to civil or criminal penalty has been committed, and whether there is a need for new laws or to amend or repeal existing laws or regulations in order to prevent a recurrence of the casualty.

Construction

Pub. L. 98–89, §2(h), Aug. 26, 1983, 97 Stat. 599, provided that: "Chapter 63 of title 46 (as enacted by section 1 of this Act) does not supersede section 304(a)(1)(E) of the Independent Safety Board Act of 1974 (49 App. U.S.C. 1903(a)(1)(E)) [see 49 U.S.C. 1131(a)(1)(E), (b)]."

Transfer of Functions

For transfer of authorities, functions, personnel, and assets of the Coast Guard, including the authorities and functions of the Secretary of Transportation relating thereto, to the Department of Homeland Security, and for treatment of related references, see sections 468(b), 551(d), 552(d), and 557 of Title 6, Domestic Security, and the Department of Homeland Security Reorganization Plan of November 25, 2002, as modified, set out as a note under section 542 of Title 6.

§6302. Public investigations

Each investigation conducted under this chapter and regulations prescribed under this chapter shall be open to the public, except when evidence affecting the national security is to be received.

(Pub. L. 98–89, Aug. 26, 1983, 97 Stat. 537.)

Historical and Revision Notes
Revised sectionSource section (U.S. Code)
6302 ..............................................

Section 6302 provides that each investigation conducted under this chapter shall be open to the public, except when evidence affecting the national security of the United States is to be received.

§6303. Rights of parties in interest

In an investigation conducted under this chapter, the following shall be allowed to be represented by counsel, to cross-examine witnesses, and to call witnesses:

(1) an owner,

(2) any holder of a license or certificate of registry,

(3) any holder of a merchant mariner's document,

(4) any other person whose conduct is under investigation, and

(5) any other party in interest.

(Pub. L. 98–89, Aug. 26, 1983, 97 Stat. 537.)

Historical and Revision Notes
Revised sectionSource section (U.S. Code)
6303 46:239(d)

Section 6303 provides for the rights of parties in interest to an investigation by allowing them to be represented by counsel, to cross examine witnesses, and to call witnesses. This section merely states the rights of a party in interest but does not necessarily determine who is to be considered a party in interest. Clause (4) states that these rights are to be afforded to "any other person whose conduct is under investigation" (emphasis added). This implies that clauses (1) through (3) apply to individuals whose conduct is under investigation. If any individual does not qualify for these rights under clauses (1) through (4), that individual can still be entitled to these rights under clause (5), if designated as a party in interest. Since parties in interest are not clearly set out by statute, the Secretary has the authority to do this by regulation under section 6301. Thus the rights of these parties as presently provided for in existing law have been retained.

§6304. Subpena authority

(a) In an investigation under this chapter, the attendance and testimony of witnesses, including parties in interest, and the production of any evidence may be compelled by subpena. The subpena authority granted by this section is coextensive with that of a district court of the United States, in civil matters, for the district in which the investigation is conducted.

(b) When a person fails to obey a subpena issued under this section, the district court of the United States for the district in which the investigation is conducted or in which the person failing to obey is found, shall on proper application issue an order directing that person to comply with the subpena. The court may punish as contempt any disobedience of its order.

(c) A witness complying with a subpena issued under this section may be paid for actual travel and attendance at the rate provided for witnesses in the district courts of the United States.

(d) An official designated to conduct an investigation under this part may issue subpenas as provided in this section and administer oaths to witnesses.

(Pub. L. 98–89, Aug. 26, 1983, 97 Stat. 538.)

Historical and Revision Notes
Revised sectionSource section (U.S. Code)
6304 46:239(e)

46:239(f)

Section 6304 provides an officer investigating a marine casualty with the necessary subpena authority to require the attendance and testimony of witnesses and the production of evidence. It also authorizes a district court of the United States to direct compliance with a subpena.

§6305. Reports of investigations

(a) The Secretary shall prescribe regulations about the form and manner of reports of investigations conducted under this part.

(b) Reports of investigations conducted under this part shall be made available to the public. This subsection does not require the release of information described by section 552(b) of title 5 or protected from disclosure by another law of the United States.

(Pub. L. 98–89, Aug. 26, 1983, 97 Stat. 538; Pub. L. 105–383, title III, §305, Nov. 13, 1998, 112 Stat. 3420.)

Historical and Revision Notes
Revised sectionSource section (U.S. Code)
6305 46:239(g)

46:239(k)

Section 6305 requires the Secretary to prescribe regulations about the form and manner of reports of investigations of marine casualties. It also provides that the reports shall be available to the public, except for any information they contain related to national security.

Amendments

1998—Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 105–383 substituted ". This subsection does not require the release of information described by section 552(b) of title 5 or protected from disclosure by another law of the United States." for ", except to the extent that they contain information related to the national security."

§6306. Penalty

A person attempting to coerce a witness, or to induce a witness, to testify falsely in connection with a marine casualty, or to induce a witness to leave the jurisdiction of the United States, shall be fined $5,000, imprisoned for one year, or both.

(Pub. L. 98–89, Aug. 26, 1983, 97 Stat. 538.)

Historical and Revision Notes
Revised sectionSource section (U.S. Code)
6306 46:239(i)

Section 6306 provides for a $5,000 criminal penalty for anyone attempting to coerce or to induce a witness to a marine casualty investigation to testify falsely or to leave the jurisdiction of the United States.

§6307. Notifications to Congress

(a) The Secretary shall notify the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of Representatives of any hearing, before the hearing occurs, investigating a major marine casualty involving a death under section 6301 of this title.

(b) The Secretary shall submit to a committee referred to in subsection (a) of this section information on a major marine casualty that is requested by that committee or the chairman of the committee if the submission of that information is not prohibited by a law of the United States.

(c) The Secretary shall submit annually to Congress a summary of the marine casualties reported during the prior fiscal year, together with a brief statement of action taken concerning those casualties.

(Pub. L. 98–89, Aug. 26, 1983, 97 Stat. 538; Pub. L. 107–295, title IV, §408(c)(1), Nov. 25, 2002, 116 Stat. 2117.)

Historical and Revision Notes
Revised sectionSource section (U.S. Code)
6307 46:239(j)

33:366

Subsection (a) requires the Secretary to notify the Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee and the Senate Commerce Committee in advance of any hearing concerning a major marine accident (as defined by regulation) where there has been a loss of life.

Subsection (b) requires the Coast Guard to supply the Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee and the Senate Commerce Committee with any requested marine casualty information, if its release is not specifically prohibited by law.

Subsection (c) requires the Secretary to submit an annual report to Congress summarizing the marine casualties reported during the prior fiscal year, with a brief statement of action taken concerning those casualties.

Amendments

2002—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 107–295 substituted "Transportation and Infrastructure" for "Merchant Marine and Fisheries".

§6308. Information barred in legal proceedings

(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no part of a report of a marine casualty investigation conducted under section 6301 of this title, including findings of fact, opinions, recommendations, deliberations, or conclusions, shall be admissible as evidence or subject to discovery in any civil or administrative proceedings, other than an administrative proceeding initiated by the United States.

(b) Any member or employee of the Coast Guard investigating a marine casualty pursuant to section 6301 of this title shall not be subject to deposition or other discovery, or otherwise testify in such proceedings relevant to a marine casualty investigation, without the permission of the Secretary. The Secretary shall not withhold permission for such employee or member to testify, either orally or upon written questions, on solely factual matters at a time and place and in a manner acceptable to the Secretary if the information is not available elsewhere or is not obtainable by other means.

(c) Nothing in this section prohibits the United States from calling the employee or member as an expert witness to testify on its behalf. Further, nothing in this section prohibits the employee or member from being called as a fact witness in any case in which the United States is a party. If the employee or member is called as an expert or fact witness, the applicable Federal Rules of Civil Procedure govern discovery. If the employee or member is called as a witness, the report of a marine casualty investigation conducted under section 6301 of this title shall not be admissible, as provided in subsections (a) and (b), and shall not be considered the report of an expert under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

(d) The information referred to in subsections (a), (b), and (c) of this section shall not be considered an admission of liability by the United States or by any person referred to in those conclusions and statements.

(Added Pub. L. 104–324, title III, §313(a), Oct. 19, 1996, 110 Stat. 3921; amended Pub. L. 109–241, title IX, §902(e)(2), formerly §902(e)(2)–(4), July 11, 2006, 120 Stat. 567, renumbered §902(e)(2) and amended Pub. L. 111–281, title IX, §903(a)(5)(B)–(7), Oct. 15, 2010, 124 Stat. 3010.)

References in Text

The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, referred to in subsec. (c), are set out in the Appendix to Title 28, Judiciary and Judicial Procedure.

Amendments

2010—Subsecs. (c), (d). Pub. L. 111–281 made technical amendment to directory language of Pub. L. 109–241, §902(e). See 2006 Amendment notes below.

2006—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 109–241, §902(e)(2)(B), added subsec. (a) and struck out former subsec. (a) which read as follows: "Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no part of a report of a marine casualty investigation conducted under section 6301 of this title, including findings of fact, opinions, recommendations, deliberations, or conclusions, shall be admissible as evidence or subject to discovery in any civil or administrative proceedings, other than an administrative proceeding initiated by the United States. Any employee of the Department of Transportation, and any member of the Coast Guard, investigating a marine casualty pursuant to section 6301 of this title, shall not be subject to deposition or other discovery, or otherwise testify in such proceedings relevant to a marine casualty investigation, without the permission of the Secretary of Transportation. The Secretary shall not withhold permission for such employee or member to testify, either orally or upon written questions, on solely factual matters at a time and place and in a manner acceptable to the Secretary if the information is not available elsewhere or is not obtainable by other means."

Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 109–241, §902(e)(2)(B), added subsec. (b). Former subsec. (b) redesignated (c).

Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 109–241, §902(e)(2)(A), (C), formerly §902(e)(2)(A), (3), renumbered §902(e)(2)(A), (C) and amended Pub. L. 111–281, §903(a)(5)(B), (C), (6), redesignated subsec. (b) as (c) and substituted "subsections (a) and (b)" for "subsection (a)". Former subsec. (c) redesignated (d).

Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 109–241, §902(e)(2)(A), (D), formerly §902(e)(2)(A), (4), renumbered §902(e)(2)(A), (D) and amended Pub. L. 111–281, §903(a)(5)–(7), redesignated subsec. (c) as (d) and substituted "subsections (a), (b), and (c)" for "subsections (a) and (b)".

Effective Date of 2010 Amendment

Pub. L. 111–281, title IX, §903(a), Oct. 15, 2010, 124 Stat. 3010, provided that the amendment by section 903(a)(5)(B)–(7), is effective with enactment of Pub. L. 109–241.

§6309. Voyage data recorder access

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Coast Guard shall have full, concurrent, and timely access to and ability to use voyage data recorder data and audio held by any Federal agency in all marine casualty investigations, regardless of which agency is the investigative lead.

(Added Pub. L. 115–265, title II, §207(a), Oct. 11, 2018, 132 Stat. 3747.)