The US House of Representatives has approved a bill that addresses maritime safety issues in the wake of the sinking of the El Faro in a hurricane in 2015.
The Save Our Seas Act (S. 756) combines several pieces of legislation recently approved by the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, including the Maritime Safety Act of 2018 (HR 6175), and the Coast Guard Blue Technology Center of Expertise Act (HR 6206).
The Save Our Seas Act promotes continued national and international efforts to address the growing amount of marine debris entering the ocean environment, urging the administration to support research and development on systems and materials that would reduce the amount of waste that enters the ocean, and to work with nations that discharge large amounts of solid waste into the ocean by sharing technologies and infrastructure to prevent, reduce, or mitigate those land-based sources from entering the marine environment.
The Maritime Safety Act of 2018 (HR 6175) addresses maritime safety issues that were raised in the Commandant of the Coast Guard’s final action memo in response to the sinking of the El Faro. It will mandate among other things timely weather forecasts, emergency safety gear with locator beacons, float-free voyage data recorders with integrated emergency position indicating beacons.
The Coast Guard Blue Technology Center of Expertise Act (HR 6206) establishes a Blue Technology Center of Expertise to help promote awareness within the US Coast Guard of the range and diversity of new and emerging maritime domain awareness technologies, especially more cost effective unmanned technologies – and how the use of such technologies could enhance Coast Guard mission readiness and performance.
The Save Our Seas Act will now head to the US Senate for a vote.