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January 2020    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 35, No. 1   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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U.S. Coast Guard Regulations under Criticism in Wake of the Conception Tragedy

from the January, 2020 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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The Conception liveaboard fire, the worst in recent American maritime history, shook up the diving world. But, now people are wondering whether the tragedy could have been prevented had the Coast Guard not ignored new safety recommendations.

With the finger pointed at charging lithium-ion batteries as a possible source of the fire, the Los Angeles Times reported that a year before, a battery caught fire on the Vision, a sister vessel of Conception. When a battery started to smolder, a crewmember tossed it into the water to prevent the fire from spreading.

This fire underscored the dangers of such batteries, which have now been banned from the cargo areas of commercial planes -- and have been subject to tighter regulations by the U.S. Navy since 2008, when lithium-ion batteries being charged caused a blaze aboard a SEAL mini-submarine in Pearl Harbor. The FAA has logged 252 cases in which batteries caught fire between 2006 and October 2019....

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