NWC Calls for Investigation of Bridge Tragedy Preceded by Whistleblower Retaliation

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Published on March 27, 2024

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NWC Calls for Investigation of Bridge Tragedy Preceded by Whistleblower Retaliation



WASHINGTON, D.C. | MARCH 27, 2024 — National Whistleblower Center is deeply disturbed by the recent disaster at the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, MD. Our relentless support of whistleblowers is only emboldened by the recent coverage of proceedings regarding the involved shipping company’s violations of whistleblower protection laws.

NWC has long advocated for whistleblowers at sea. The important Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships, and others, are woefully under enforced by the Coast Guard. Further, within the Coast Guard itself, NWC has called for the elimination of whistleblower retaliation and the recognition of whistleblowers like retired Commander Kimberly Young-McLear.

In this instance, NWC calls on the Coast Guard to thoroughly investigate whether Maersk Line Limited failed to heed whistleblower concerns about the operation of the ship before this tragic accident – and to take action to penalize Maersk for any retaliation associated with such reports.

Dr. Fredric Whitehurst, FBI Whistleblower, Attorney, and NWC Board Member, adds “When maritime industry management ignores valid concerns of mariners for the sake of profit margin, they invite disaster. A corporate structure that retaliates against whistleblowers is a hallmark signature of management’s complete lack of concerns for the safety and environmental pollution.” And that “Our experience with mariner whistleblowers reporting ocean pollution is that they are all terrified of retaliation both against themselves and their families.”

NWC Executive Director, Siri Nelson, adds “It is clear to NWC that the shipping industry has a problem with retaliating against whistleblowers – and this puts us all at risk.”

Whistleblowers play a critical role in public safety. Whistleblowers must be heard, trusted, and protected for the benefit of us all. Whistleblowers at sea are critical to protecting our oceans as well as our critical infrastructure. Companies that retaliate must be held accountable and closely monitored when a pattern of silencing whistleblowers is identified.

NWC invites you to contact Congress to support DOL enforcement actions, hold the Coast Guard accountable for failures to protect whistleblowers, and launch a federal investigation into possible whistleblower retaliation in the shipping industry to ensure accidents like the one in Baltimore do not happen again.

NWC Executive Director Siri Nelson is available for comment. For more information, contact NWC at info@whistleblowers.org.

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NWC is the leading nonprofit working with whistleblowers worldwide to fight corruption and protect people and the environment. For over 30 years, NWC has won policies to protect whistleblowers from retaliation and reward them for helping deliver criminal and civil penalties against wrongdoers.

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