U.S. Coast Guard Investigations

Coast Guard Boarding

Most seafarers have experienced a routine inspection by the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) while in a U.S. port. The USCG has responsibility for enforcing the laws of the United States and under U.S. law can board vessels, conduct inspections, investigate potential violations and seize evidence.1 The USCG may board a merchant vessel for one of several reasons—ranging from inspecting vessels suspected of violating U.S. laws to conducting routine inspections to check on a vessel’s operational condition.

interview with USCG OfficerInvestigations

Sometimes, the USCG may conduct an investigation because they suspect that a pollution incident has occurred aboard a vessel or that the vessel is not in compliance with U.S. or international environmental regulations. To report a violation on board, you should contact the National Response Center or alert the Coast Guard.2

1 14 U.S.C. § 89(a).

2 Assistant Commandant for Marine Safety, Security and Environmental Protection (GM)
Main Number: +1 202-267-2200,
Fax Number: +1 202-267-4839.