1. Rhipsime Rose

    Rhipsime Rose New Member

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    Shipwreck/ship sinking investigation?

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Rhipsime Rose, Nov 14, 2021.

    Hello,

    So, in the short story I'm writing, the main character is the sole survivor of a deadly Great Lakes shipwreck. I am just curious as to how the investigation of the incident would be carried out, particularly regarding questioning of the survivor and getting eyewitness testimonies from him. Would multiple questionings be performed, or just one? Would he have to answer to the Coast Guard and the police or just the Coast Guard?

    I haven't really found any good resources on this topic, so I'm hoping someone here could be of help.

    This takes place in the Late Modern Era (sometime in the 1970s, to be exact).
     
  2. SapereAude

    SapereAude Contributor Contributor

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    I don't think the police would become involved unless preliminary investigations suggested that a crime had been committed.

    The Coast Guard would certainly be involved. Since the Great Lakes are territorial waters (half U.S. and half Canada) rather than international waters, the NTSB would also be involved, as they were when the cargo ship Golden Ray capsized in 2019: https://www.wtoc.com/2021/08/30/ntsb-documents-chronicle-golden-ray-wreck/
     
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  3. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    And you can't leave the investigation of the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald out of your research. Though I guarantee you won't be able to get the song out of your head for days.
     
  4. newjerseyrunner

    newjerseyrunner Contributor Contributor

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    Now I can hear the slide guitar.
     
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  5. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

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    This might be useful information. I think it's a pretty current 'form' issued by the Coast Guard when investigating a ship accident. The category is pretty broad, but covers all US registered ships and/or any incidents happening in USA waters. Which, I presume, includes the Great Lakes. The depth of questioning on this form is interesting to read. It's pretty detailed. It does look as if the Coast Guard is the primary investigatory agency.

    https://homeport.uscg.mil/Lists/Content/Attachments/1185/CG2692.pdf
     
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  6. Robert Musil

    Robert Musil Comparativist Contributor

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    "The lake, the NTSB found after thorough investigation and interviews with witnesses, never gives up her dead, when the gales of November turn gloomy."
     
  7. MartinM

    MartinM Banned

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    @Rhipsime Rose

    Great Question...

    Home (ntsb.gov)

    Canadian Coast Guard (ccg-gcc.gc.ca)

    http___www.aphref.aph.gov.au_house_committee_spla_crimes at sea_report_chapter6 (1).pdf

    The key is who’s front facing that then turns into ownership. Your lone survivor was he picked up on the lake by coast guard or washed up ashore and taken to hospital. Then the initial investigations start. If he’s military NCIS? The procedural links are unclear, but the NTSB seem to be the final port of call that develops the narrative.

    The Australian link was the only one that I could find that tries to devise responsibility. Am sure that in a great lakes case with victims it would be a joint task force. The coast guard for search and recovery, also to try and asses what happened. The local PD to question the survivor and have the other victims identified. Probably the NTSB to pull everything together with the FBI involvement if a criminal element develops. If the wreck involves pollution or military then I think its very clear who runs the show.

    MartinM
     
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  8. JLT

    JLT Contributor Contributor

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    Now you've done it. Curse you, Robert!
     
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  9. Rhipsime Rose

    Rhipsime Rose New Member

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    Thank you, this is extremely useful!
     
  10. Rhipsime Rose

    Rhipsime Rose New Member

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    The SS Edmund Fitzgerald incident was a big inspiration for my story! I find it fascinating.
     
  11. Joe_Hall

    Joe_Hall I drink Scotch and I write things

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    NINTH COAST GUARD DISTRICT
    1240 East Ninth Street
    Cleveland, OH 44199
    (216) 902-6000

    District 9 is the great lakes district for the U.S. Coast Guard
     

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