USCG Issue Steering Gears Safety Alert

October 2016

USCG Issue Steering Gears Safety Alert

The US Coast Guard marine inspectors have experienced two different circumstances involving the alarm and control system of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries steering gears onboard relatively new vessels recently in the Pacific North West.

Although neither event resulted in a marine casualty, they serve as a reminder to the potentially dangerous results that may occur when an alarm system is deliberately ignored. A false sense of operational safety develops when crewmembers continually silence what they consider to be a “nuisance alarm,” enabling a false perception of normalcy to develop.

As a result of these events, the US Coast Guard strongly recommends that owner and operators ensure the following:

• address the management of nuisance alarms in Safety Management Systems and require immediate correction of their specific causes; and
• Include strict prohibitions against the pinning or securing of alarm acknowledgment buttons and switches. Such actions should be deemed as unacceptable corrective measures as they have contributed to serious marine casualties in the past.

In light of the two different circumstances, the US Coast Guard have issued Marine Safety Alert 16-16 regarding correct Steering Gear & Other Nuisance Alarms involving the alarm and control system of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries steering gears.

The US Coast Guard Safety Alert is available to download as a PDF by accessing this link 

Please be aware that the US Coast Guard safety alert is provided for informational purpose only and does not relieve any domestic or international safety, operational, or material requirements. The alert has been developed by the Inspection Department of the Marine Safety Unit Portland and the Coast Guard Headquarters Office of Investigations and Casualty Analysis.

Questions or comments may be sent to