Coast Guard terminates crabbing vessel voyages in Oregon

SEATTLE — Crewmembers from the Coast Guard Cutter Fir have terminated the voyages of three Oregon crabbing vessels and discovered 12 violations since Monday.

The most recent termination took place Thursday when the crew of the Fir boarded the fishing vessel Orca near Yaquina Bay, Ore. The Orca was involved with the Oregon state crab fisheries and did not bear a valid Commercial Fishing Industry Vessel Safety Act decal prompting the crew of the Fir to conduct a boarding. When it was discovered there were not enough immersion suits aboard the Orca to accomodate all of its crew the Orca’s voyage was terminated and the vessel was sent back to port with an escort from Coast Guard Station Yaquina Bay.

Immersion suits provide flotation and protection from cold water and are necessary aboard most commercial fishing vessels. A lack of enough suits for a vessel’s crew is grounds for immediate termination.

“It’s important to ensure that commercial fishing vessels have the required personal floatation devices on board,” said Dan Hardin, a commercial fishing vessel safety coordinator with the Coast Guard Thirteenth District. “Casualty statistics revealed that a person is seven times more likely to survive if they’re able to properly don a survival suit before they’re exposed to cold water.”

The vessels Thora-S and Sunset were also boarded and had their voyages terminated. Violations the Fir discovered aboard the vessels include: expired emergency position indicating radio beacons (EPIRB,) expired distress signals and expired liferafts. The Fir has also found expired EPIRB batteries and expired hydrostatic releases for EPIRBS and liferafts.

“We put a great emphasis on ensuring all the proper safety equipment is aboard these vessels,” said Lt. Cmdr. Francis Colantonio, a fisheries enforcement officer with the Coast Guard Thirteenth District. “These guys have a tough, dangerous job, and we want to make sure they get home safe.”

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