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Press Release | Jan. 18, 2024

Coast Guard concludes public hearing for Grande Costa D’Avorio

NEW YORK — The Coast Guard and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) concluded their formal public hearing proceedings for the Grande Costa D’Avorio Thursday in Union, New Jersey. 

The joint investigation reviewed and considered evidence related to the fire and subsequent fatalities that occurred aboard the Italian-flagged vessel Grande Costa D’Avorio in the Port of Newark, New Jersey on July 5, 2023.  

The hearing was broadcast live, recorded and can be viewed at and documents, exhibits, investigator biographies and other hearing information can be viewed at  

The formal hearing convened daily Jan. 10 through 12, and Jan. 16 through 18.  

The hearing detailed the condition of the Grande Costa D’Avorio prior to and at the time of the fire, including the cargo loading process for vehicles at the Port of Newark, initial response actions by the ship’s crew, and subsequent response and recovery efforts by local land-based fire departments. 

“Our hearts go out to the Acabou and Brooks families affected by this tragic event,” said Cmdr. Christian Barger, the Coast Guard’s lead investigating officer. “While we continue to mourn this tragedy, we are dedicated to learn from their loss to affect real change and improve the safety of all first responders nationwide. Our commitment is unwavering. This juncture does not constitute the conclusion of our fact-finding and investigation. The Coast Guard, in tandem with National Transportation Safety Board, will continue to gather and assess all evidence necessary to establish the facts of this incident.” 

After this hearing, the Coast Guard and National Transportation Safety Board will compile their independent Reports of Investigation, inclusive of recommendations to improve maritime and first-responder safety and prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future. 

“We extend our sincere gratitude to Cmdr. Barger and his investigation team for their invaluable collaboration in investigating the fire aboard the Grande Costa D’Avorio,” said Bart Barnum, the National Transportation Safety Board’s lead investigating officer. “Together, we are dedicated to unraveling the complexities surrounding this incident and determining its root cause. This collaborative effort exemplifies the power of cooperation and underscores our shared commitment to ensuring the safety and well-being of our maritime and port communities.” 

At a future date, both the Coast Guard and NTSB will issue separate reports of findings, which will include the respective agency’s official determination of the probable cause of this incident and recommendations to correct safety problems discovered during the investigations. 

Preliminary recommendations from the Coast Guard were published and shared with industry partners on Nov. 20, 2023 through Marine Safety Alert 09-23, recommending coordinated marine firefighting preparation efforts nation-wide through area contingency plans.