Marine Casualty Investigations by the United States Coast Guard and the National Transportation Safety Board

The occurrence of a marine casualty may, depending on its type or location, bring about an investigation by any number of federal agencies, including the Department of Interior's Mineral Management Service, the Environmental Protection Agency, the United States Navy, the Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Department of Defense, the United States Army Corps of Engineers and the Department of Labor, as well as concerned state agencies. As a general rule, however, most lawyers representing clients involved in, or concerned with, marine casualties must deal primarily with United States Coast Guard and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigations. The purpose of this Article is to give attorneys faced with such investigations some guidance with respect to the procedures followed in such investigations and the discovery and admissibility in civil proceedings between private litigants of the reports generated as a result of those investigations.