This paper was originally presented at the 2013 ASME/USCG Workshop on Marine Technology & Standards in Arlington, VA.

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Failures of machinery and systems aboard towing vessels can have devastating consequences to the vessel, its crew, other vessels and their crews, shoreside populations and facilities, cargoes, marine transportation systems, commerce, and the environment. This paper presents a comprehensive methodology for implementing Risk-Based Maintenance and Inspections of towing vessel machinery and systems. Utilizing incident data from the United States Coast Guard (USCG) and other relevant industry information, the authors apply the principles set forth in ANSI/API Recommended Practice 580, Risk-based Inspection [1], as a guideline.

Relatively straightforward to implement, the methodology presented in this paper is expected to improve towing vessel safety, reduce potential dangers associated with towing operations, and provide favorable risk/benefit reward to vessel owners.


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Bartley J. Eckhardt, P.E.

Bartley J. Eckhardt, P.E. - Bart is President/CEO of Robson Forensic, Inc. and also heads its Marine-Industrial-Specialty Practice Group. A testifying expert himself in matters of marine and mechanical engineering, he held advanced Merchant Marine licenses and is a licensed Professional Engineer in 17 states.

Having enjoyed a 30+ year career specializing in the unusual, Bart regularly analyzes catastrophic marine and industrial incidents, particularly involving machinery, systems, rigging and marine towing. As an International Association of Marine Investigators certified marine investigator, and having completed a 40-hour course in Marine Accident Investigation by the World Maritime University, he applies principles of marine and mechanical engineering to reconstruct marine casualties.