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U.S. Department of Transportation’s SafeMTS Program

Feb. 7, 2024

The purpose of this Maritime Commons notice is to promote awareness of a pilot program, SafeMTS, recently launched by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), to improve safety for vessel crew members and passengers on the Maritime Transportation System (MTS). The primary developers of SafeMTS are the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD), as maritime safety subject matter experts, and the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), Office of Safety Data and Analysis. The Coast Guard, though not directly involved with the development of SafeMTS, is fully supportive of this DOT initiative as a significant effort to improve safety on the MTS and reduce both near-miss events and reportable casualties. The Coast Guard has been an active participant in the development of a related voluntary industry standard produced by ASTM International Committee F25, Ships and Marine Technology. This document is ASTM F3256, Standard Guide for Reporting and Recording of Near-Misses for Maritime Industry.

The information below about the SafeMTS program is provided by the U.S. DOT, MARAD and BTS. For more information on the program and how to participate in SafeMTS, please enquire at the following email address: SafeMTS@dot.gov.

SafeMTS is a voluntary program for confidential reporting of near miss events occurring on vessels within the Maritime Transportation System. The program is intended to provide a trusted, proactive means for the maritime industry to report sensitive and proprietary information, for the purpose of identifying early warnings of safety problems and potential safety issues. Similar to other voluntary reporting programs, this type of information can help to uncover hidden, at-risk conditions not previously exposed from analysis of reportable accidents and incidents.

SafeMTS is a partnership between the DOT’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) and Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), and a collaboration with the maritime industry. MARAD is the sponsoring agency and BTS collects and protects submitted data under the legal authority of the Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act (CIPSEA). Stakeholders of this program include companies within the maritime industry, industry groups such as the American Waterways Operators (AWO) and Ship Operations Cooperative Program (SOCP), MARAD, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), among others.

Objectives of the program include:

  • Collect near miss data from industry partners that can be analyzed to identify safety-related trends to prevent incidents or identify otherwise non-correlated events.
  • Share results with industry stakeholders to support continuous safety improvement efforts.
  • Inform near miss reporting standards to improve the reporting of meaningful near miss information.

The program is currently in its pilot phase, with seven maritime companies having voluntarily provided data and input into building a key, guidance documents, and initial pilot dataset. Outcomes of the pilot program include a pilot report and products such as narrative guidance and a key of core data fields, expected by the first quarter of 2024. Potential outcomes of future phases are data products such as public- and participant-facing dashboards and updates to the ASTM standard F3256.

The core data fields identified during the pilot phase are shown in the graphic below. Please note that these are subject to change.

SafeMTS Graphic

The initial report on the SafeMTS Pilot program can be found and downloaded at the following link: https://rosap.ntl.bts.gov/view/dot/73113

For further questions, please contact the Systems Engineering Division (CG-ENG-3) in the Office of Design and Engineering Standards (CG-ENG) at:  typeapproval@uscg.mil .

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This blog is not a replacement or substitute for the formal posting of regulations and updates or existing processes for receiving formal feedback of the same. Links provided on this blog will direct the reader to official publications, such as the Federal Register, Homeport and the Code of Federal Regulations. These publications remain the official source for regulatory information published by the Coast Guard.