49 CFR § 831.61 - Parties to the investigation.

§ 831.61 Parties to the investigation.

(a) Participants.

(1) The IIC may designate one or more entities to serve as parties in an investigation. The NTSB will provide to the USCG the opportunity to participate in all NTSB investigations and investigative activities the NTSB conducts under this subpart. For all other organizations, party status is limited to those persons, government agencies (Federal, state, or local), companies, and organizations whose employees, functions, activities, or products were involved in the marine casualty or major marine casualty and that can provide suitable qualified technical personnel actively to assist in an investigation. To the extent practicable, a representative proposed by party organizations to participate in the investigation may not be a person who had direct involvement in the major marine casualty or marine casualty under investigation.

(2) Except the USCG, no entity has a right to participate in an NTSB marine investigation as a party.

(3) Participants in an investigation (e.g., party representatives, party coordinators, and the larger party organization) must respond to direction from NTSB representatives.

(4) No party representative may -

(i) Occupy a legal position; or

(ii) Be a person who also represents claimants or insurers.

(5) Party status may be revoked or suspended if a party fails to comply with either paragraph (a)(3) or (a)(4) of this section. Sanctions may also be imposed if a party withholds information or acts in a manner prejudicial or disruptive to an investigation.

(b) Disclosures.

(1) The name of a party or its representative may be disclosed in documents the NTSB places in the public docket for the investigation.

(2) The NTSB may share information considered proprietary or confidential by one party with other parties during the course of an investigation, but will preserve the confidentiality of the information to the greatest extent possible.

(3) Section 831.6(c) of this part describes how the NTSB will handle voluntarily submitted safety information, and the NTSB's determination whether to share any such information. The NTSB will de-identify the source of such information when deciding to share it.

(c) Party agreement. All party representatives must sign the “Statement of Party Representatives to NTSB Investigation” (Statement) upon acceptance of party status. Failure to timely sign the Statement may result in sanctions, including loss of party status. Representatives of Federal agencies are not required to sign the Statement, but must comply with the responsibilities and limitations set forth in the agreement.

(d) Internal review by a party.

(1) To assure coordination of concurrent efforts, a party to an investigation that conducts or authorizes a review of its own processes and procedures as a result of a major marine casualty or a marine casualty the NTSB is investigating must inform the IIC in a timely manner of the nature of its review. A party performing such review must provide the IIC with the findings from this review.

(2) If the findings from a review contain privileged information -

(i) The submitting party must inform the IIC that the review contains privileged information;

(ii) The submitting party must identify the privileged content at the time of submission to the IIC;

(iii) The NTSB must, when informed that such information is being submitted, review the information for relevancy to the investigation, and determine whether the information is needed for the investigation or may be excluded from the party's response.

(3) The NTSB may use the protections described in § 831.56 of this part, as applicable, to protect certain findings from public disclosure.

(4) Investigations performed by other Federal agencies during an NTSB investigation are addressed in § 831.55 of this part.