Coast Guard protects Columbia River ports with safety exams of foreign vessels

Petty Officers Billy Lemos, Eric Kelley, Sarah Jacobs and Julie Imagane, marine science technicians at Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Portland, review documents about the vessel Morning Catherine at the beginning of a Port State Control exam at the Port of Portland, Ore., May 1, 2017. MSTs review licenses, certifications, plans and logs of a crew and their vessel prior to conducting physical inspections.

Petty Officers Billy Lemos, Eric Kelley, Sarah Jacobs and Julie Imagane, marine science technicians at Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Portland, review documents about the vessel Morning Catherine at the beginning of a Port State Control exam at the Port of Portland, Ore.

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Coast Guard has detained seven foreign vessels since November 2018, due to discrepancies found during Port State Control exams in accordance with the International Maritime Organization Safety of Life at Sea multi-lateral treaty.

The most recent detention occurred after examiners from Marine Safety Unit Portland discovered 100 inoperable carbon dioxide (CO2) cylinders, which are used to extinguish fires in the vessel’s machinery space or cargo holds.

Safety pins that should prevent accidental discharge during transportation and installation, remained in the cylinder nozzles, which would have prevented the deployment of CO2.

Foreign vessels are detained in the U.S. when serious lifesaving, firefighting, machinery, pollution prevention, or security failures are discovered during an examination. A detention controls the movement of a foreign commercial vessel until after the serious deficiencies are rectified.

“The Coast Guard maintains the safety of the port by preventing damage to property or the marine environment,” said Capt. Tom Griffitts, commanding officer, Marine Safety Unit Portland. “Inspectors from our unit do a great job of identifying major non-conformities aboard vessels and through this identification we ensure vessels are safe, secure, and environmentally sound to transit the complex Columbia River System.”

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