Thursday, January 7, 2010

Cutter calls safety timeout for Southeast boats

The following press release is from the U.S. Coast Guard. For some reason, it fails to name the vessels involved.

Jan. 7, 2010

Coast Guard crew terminates three Alaska fishing vessels

JUNEAU — The Coast Guard cutter Naushon terminated the voyages of two 50-foot and one 45-foot commercial fishing vessels Wednesday near Craig for safety violations.

A boarding team from the Naushon terminated the voyage of all three vessels between 2:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. One of the fishing vessels was terminated due to an expired life raft, while the other two were terminated due to lack of a primary lifesaving device. Two of the vessels also had expired documentation.

Life rafts aboard commercial fishing vessels must be repacked annually and the hydrostatic release must be replaced or serviced in the required timeframe depending on the type.

"Life rafts and flotation devices have made the difference between life and death many times in Alaska," said Capt. Melissa Bert, Sector Juneau commander. "We take the requirement to have them on board seriously."

All the vessels were escorted by the Naushon to Craig. Two of the vessels are homeported in Craig while the third hails from Klawock.

The vessels must clear the terminable offenses prior to getting under way. All three vessels were given a compliance option that may reduce or remove any potential fines provided that the vessels pass a dockside safety exam.

The 110-foot Naushon is based out of Ketchikan, Alaska. It was under way conducting random commercial fishing vessel boardings in the vicinity of Prince of Wales Island.

The Coast Guard conducts random boardings to help ensure owners and operators of commercial fishing vessels maintain required safety equipment.

To be better prepared for an at-sea boarding, voluntary dockside exams are available. Coast Guard personnel are available to examine safety equipment, inform the owner or operator of what's right and what needs to be corrected free of charge and penalty free.

For questions or to inquire about a free commercial fishing vessel safety exam contact the nearest Coast Guard Sector or Marine Safety Detachment.

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