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Bruno Krause 05-30-2008 05:31 PM

More BS
Deb and I just received a newspaper article from our sister-in-law that has a sister in Marietta. The title of the article, from the Marietta Times is "A Royal Visit". I'm sorry I don't have the date. I'll paraphrase here, emphasis is mine:

"Jim Berard, communication director for the House Transportation Committee said the boat does not meet fire safety codes set in the [B]1930's[/B] and the U.S. Coast Guard is [B]adamantly opposed[/B] to an exemption from these regulations. '[B]They've[/B] determined that carrying overnight passengers is a [B]fire and safety hazard[/B]', he said. 'There have been [B]fires on the Delta Queen[/B] in the past; fortunately, they have proven to be not too destructive' The Coast Guard will not [B]certify[/B] the Delta Queen because it's wooden superstructure does not [B]fall under the agency's fire retardant materials regulations[/B]. '[B]They[/B] have engineers; [B]they are the experts[/B]', Berard said. 'The Chairman listened to the Coast Guard.'"

Why are we paying this man to be in our government? And the [B][I]HUGE[/I][/B] question of the hour is [B][I]WHY ISN'T SOMEBODY FROM THE COMPANY[/I][/B] passing out a press release to each and every reporter to counter Oberstar's fantasyland?

The reporter is Patrick Cooley...and you betcha he's gonna get an e-mail from me. And Franz...I suspect that the above doesn't work with copywrites, so feel free to delete my paraphrase and insert a link...

Alan Bates 05-30-2008 08:04 PM

Yes, Mr. Reporter, the Coast Guard has engineers, many of whom are of doubtful competence. One of the U. S. Coast Guard's own engineers, a man named Daniels, wrote a paper on Marine Combustibility in which he said, "Non-combustibility is no panacea [in catastrophic fires]."
To give some idea of the Coast Guard's fear of wood, the commander of the MMT (Merchant Marine Technical) Branch in New Orleans delayed approval of the Natchez drawings for a month, arguing that the wooden parts of the [B]PADDLEWHEEL[/B] were a fire hazard! This was sheer incompetence on his part, of course.
The World Trade Towers were non-combustible. They withstood the impacts of heavy airplance, but the ensuing fires brought them down. The fact is, wood survives longer in fires than steel or aluminum, which are non-combustible.

Jim Blum 05-30-2008 10:02 PM

After watching the video clip of Oberstar's 'report' the hair on the back of my neck stood up at his 'reporting of facts'.

Right or wrong the USCG is a regulatory orgainization which is concerned with RISK ASSESSMENT. Alan Bates, a friend and fine gentleman and expert was in business for himself which reflect his opinion of the facts. He did not have to be concerned with promotion thru the ranks. I agree with Alan on many topics including flamability.

What we have to remember is that there are young men and women in the CG Chain of Command who are charged with overseeing plans & Inspecting Vessels. They have to use data and historical reports at face value. If they are interested in a career they have to use the data to comply with Regulations they did not write or possibly personally agree with at face value. Not in a way that many of us look at the situation.

The Str Delta Queen is PERFECTLY SAFE--we all know that---are you and I going to convince the C G Commandant of that? He (in this case) looks at reports passed up from the districts. Has MAL (in this case of ownership) had their problems. You bet they have! Is the DQ at fault? NO! Have the three boats had problems, yes.

I thought it was just absolutely silly that Oberstar referred to the Str Sultana (by inference) fire and loss of life in his 'speach'.

We need to convince others in Congress that the exemptions be passed and that the traveling public be given the choice. In Lucerne, Switzerland there is a Celebration this year of a Steam Side wheel boat older than the Delta Queen.

Bruno Krause 05-31-2008 06:57 AM

OK, I guess that is my point, and I'll now ask the question directly. Does the Coast Guard "certify" a boat, and if yes, what does that mean? Can they determine that an existing boat is a "fire hazard", and if yes is there anything in the CG's power to do anything about it? If the boat meets current laws (and notice I didn't say anything about codes), isn't that all the CG can look at, as a pass/fail type of thing? And lastly does anybody know if the Coast Guard has voiced any opinion on the passage of the exemption, would they even be allowed to express an opinion? Or as I titled the thread is this all so much made up bull....

I'm not blaming the Coast Guard at all. Their very tough job as I see it is to enforce laws on the books, laws passed to provide safety to the public.

What I see about this article is that the man from Minnesota has had some very strange poetic license with what he is telling the public and he is using the Coast Guard as a crutch. If I was in the CG, I'd be upset.

Alan Bates 05-31-2008 07:44 AM

Yes, Bruno, the USCG does certify that a boat is safe to operate. The SOLAS law was passed by Congress after the burning of the Yarmouth Castle, a ship flying a "flag of convenience," (Panamanian) which means little or no inspection or crew control. Wood burns, therefore it is unsafe, is a simplistic notion. They ignored many factors well-known to firefighters and actuarial societies, the primary one being that wood frequently is safer in a catastrophic fire than steel or aluminum. They ignored such other safety factors as means of escape, whether the wood is protected, sprinklers, alarms, etc.

[Look up the Yarmouth Castle on Google or Wikipedia for the full story of that disaster.]

My basic premise is that the USCG is so oriented to the oceans that they are ignorant of the river facts of life. They are not stupid - they are ignorant. I have dealt with all sorts of USCG officers. Most of them are highly intelligent. A few are downright obstructive in the military sense: the way to promotion is to never, [I]ever[/I] commit one's self to any proposition. Their academy is immutably dedicated to ocean navigation and safety and little thought is devoted to the special problems of the rivers. A very few USCG officers come from the rivers. One is Capt. Jim Blum. I know no others.

I once asked a USCG naval architect how a change can be made. He told me, "Design the boat and let it be rejected. Then appeal. If the USCG finds in your favor the change becomes part of the rules." I then asked, "How long does that take?" He replied, "A minimum of [I]two years!"[/I]

Jim Blum 05-31-2008 07:44 AM

I think it would be appropriate if "we" as citizens requested from him a copy of the alleged 'report'. I agree he was playing free and easy with so called 'facts'. Why not place a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request to his office----all of us send him a short polite FOIA request for the report or reports he is using as a basis for his anti-exemption position.

Pat Traynor 05-31-2008 08:37 AM

Jim, that's a stroke of genious! If he can't produce any valid information, then we might suggest that he issue a public rebuttal about his erroneous stance on the issue, release it from his Transportation Committee and send it to Congress for a fair and proper vote.

The key words you used, that we should remember, are SHORT and POLITE.

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