US House Approves Safety Bill in Response to El Faro Sinking

The US House of Representatives has approved legislation to address maritime transportation safety issues raised by the El Faro sinking.

The bill, passed by the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the United States in late June, would promote the Coast Guard’s awareness of technologies that could help improve service mission performance, and reduce marine debris.

As approved in the House by voice vote on July 25, the Save Our Seas Act (S. 756) combines several pieces of bipartisan legislation recently approved by the Committee.

The Maritime Safety Act of 2018 (H.R. 6175) addresses maritime safety issues that were raised in response to the sinking of the El Faro. This provision of the bill will ensure timely weather forecasts, emergency safety gear with locator beacons, float-free voyage data recorders with integrated emergency position indicating beacons, and other safety improvements.

The Save Our Seas Act promotes efforts to address the growing amount of marine debris entering the ocean environment, while the Coast Guard Blue Technology Center of Expertise Act (H.R. 6206) establishes a Blue Technology Center of Expertise to help promote awareness within the Coast Guard of the range and diversity of so-called Blue Technologies.

“This legislation will help keep our oceans cleaner, keep our mariners safer, and help the Coast Guard to acquire new technologies to meet their mission needs,” said Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Chairman Duncan Hunter (R-CA).

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