Coast Guard ends voyage of 2 vessels in SoCal for safety violations

SAN PEDRO, Calif. — The Coast Guard temporarily prevented two United States-flagged small passenger vessels from operating in commercial service after discovering substandard safety issues while conducting routine safety inspections aboard the vessels in San Diego and Los Angeles.

When vessels that are not in substantial compliance with applicable laws or regulations are identified, the Coast Guard imposes controls until the substandard conditions have been rectified and the vessels are brought into compliance.

Through the Commercial Vessel Inspection program, the Coast Guard verifies that U.S. flagged vessels operating in U.S. waters are complying with applicable U.S. laws, U.S. regulations and international conventions.

“Coast Guard inspectors are out in the field every day conducting inspections of small passenger vessels to ensure compliance with regulations through work with vessel owners and operators to reduce deaths and injuries, prevent loss of or damage to property or the marine environment and to minimize disruptions to maritime commerce,” said Capt. Greg Callaghan, the 11th Coast Guard District chief of prevention. “The Coast Guard’s mission is to ensure the safety of the American public.”

On one vessel inspection conducted Feb. 25 in San Diego aboard a 1965 wood-built small passenger vessel, Coast Guard inspectors identified several safety discrepancies. Inspectors found that the emergency exit from below deck was sealed shut by marine sealant preventing passenger escape in an emergent situation as well as multiple unapproved electrical system alterations. Additionally, marine inspectors found serious issues involving the fuel system creating a fire hazard to the vessel.

On March 11, inspectors conducted a boarding of a 1967 wooden small passenger vessel primarily used to take passengers out for diving excursions in Long Beach. Coast Guard inspectors found multiple deficiencies including lifesaving equipment, insufficient and overdue servicing of the fire extinguishing systems and an unaddressed electrical issue that posed a significant fire hazard. All of these systems ensure personnel inside the vessel are able to escape in the event of a fire aboard and extend survival time if the passengers were to have to abandon the vessel.

“In these cases, the vessels’ conditions were substandard and our marine inspectors took action to keep their passengers and the environment safe,” said Callaghan. “Both detained small passenger vessels will respectively remain in their San Diego and Los Angeles-Long Beach Captain of the Port zones and not be allowed to operate with passengers until the discrepancies are corrected.”

Passengers, owners, operators, or masters of passenger vessels that are unsure of the requirements are encouraged to contact their local Officer in Charge, Marine Inspections(OCMI). A list of OCMIs is available on the Coast Guard Office of Commercial Vessel Compliance (CG-CVC) webpage.

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