Marine Engineer John Sullivan Awarded the Coast Guard Certificate of Merit

In May 2002, the Department of Transportation awarded marine engineer, John Sullivan the United States Coast Guard, Certificate of Merit for his involvement investigating the engine room fire on the M/V SSG EDWARD A CARTER JR.

The Coast Guard maintains several Public Service Awards to recognize private citizens, groups, or organizations for helping the Coast Guard carry out its missions. The Certificate of Merit award recognizes significant endeavors such as effort that resulted in the completion of a project or program significantly beneficial to the Coast Guard’s missions and responsibilities.

The Commanding Officer of the United States Coast Guard Marine Safety Office in Wilmington, N.C., takes great pleasure in presenting the Coast Guard Certificate of Merit to John Sullivan for his outstanding assistance with the Coast Guard Formal Investigation of the engine room fire on the M/V SSG Edward A Carter Jr. This fire, which occurred on July 14, 2001, resulted in two deaths and $15 million worth of damage, and was the costliest and deadliest ship fire in the Port of Wilmington’s history. Mr. Sullivan demonstrated superior initiative and candor while providing expert advice to the investigation team on and the vessel’s complex engineering and low-pressure CO2 fixed firefighting systems. His intimate knowledge of the operation of the fuel transfer system was instrumental in determining how heavy fuel oil entered the interior sections of the engine room and in identifying existing problems with the vessel’s fuel tank level monitoring system that contributed to this casualty. Additionally, Mr. Sullivan was the first person on the investigation team to determine that the fixed firefighting system had not discharged, and assisted in determining why the firefighting system failed to operate correctly, which will prevent similar failures on eleven sister vessels. He provided key testimony during two days of formal hearings by convincingly linking his post-fire findings to the cause of the fire. Mr. Sullivan’s actions and support of the Coast Guard is heartily commended and are in keeping with the highest traditions of public service.

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