Save Our Seas Act signed into law including Hamm Alert Maritime Safety Act of 2018 addressing safety improvements in U.S. industry

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On October 11, President Trump signed into law the Save Our Seas Act of 2018, legislation that includes the Hamm Alert Maritime Safety Act of 2018 - named for the late Frank Hamm, who sailed as an AB on El Faro's final voyage. This title of the Save Our Seas Act addresses safety improvements throughout the U.S. maritime industry based on the recommendations of the commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard following the loss of El Faro and all 33 crew members on October 1, 2015.

As stated in the law: "The National Transportation Safety Board and the Coast Guard made recommendations to address safety issues, such as improving weather information and training, improving planning and response to severe weather, reviewing the Coast Guard's program delegating vessel inspections to third-party organizations to assess the effectiveness of the program, and improving alerts and equipment on the vessels, among other recommendations.

"Safety issues are not limited to the El Faro. For 2017, over 21,000 deficiencies were issued to United States commercial vessels and more than 2,500 U.S. vessels were issued 'no-sail' requirements.

"The maritime industry, particularly the men and women of the United States merchant marine, play a vital and important role to the national security and economy of our country, and a strong safety regime is necessary to ensure the vitality of the industry and the protection of current and future mariners, and to honor lost mariners."

Among other things, Title II of the law calls for implementation of safety recommendations included in the U.S. Coast Guard commandant's Final Action Memo on the Report of Investigation into the sinking of El Faro.

The complete text of the Save Our Seas Act of 2018 is available from the Government Publishing Office at https://tinyurl.com/yasmmtdv.

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