In September 2019, off the coast of California, a fire aboard the MV Conception, a 23-meter (75-foot) scuba diving liveaboard, broke out during the night, killing 33 passengers and one crew member. The captain and four crew members barely escaped. After more than a year of speculations and rumors, the NTSB (the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board) published the results of its investigation and the U.S. Coast Guard issued a new policy on a few topics, including the charging of lithium-ion batteries aboard small vessels and liveaboards.
Why does it seem we need a horrendous accident for common sense safety changes to be made? Looking back in history, two tragedies come to mind, which resulted in significant changes to safety protocols. One was the sinking of the Titanic and another, more recently in 2010, the “Station” nightclub fire in the US state of Rhode Island. It took the loss of 100 souls for the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to re-write policies, and issue new code provisions in 2006 for fire sprinklers and crowd management in nightclub-type venues.