The Coast Guard has sent two 37-foot fishing vessels back to port after finding their life rafts hadn't been serviced since 1993, among other safety problems.
Life rafts need to be repacked annually, the Coast Guard said.
The boats had been working in Icy Straight near Hoonah.
Here's the Coast Guard announcement:
Office of Public Affairs
U.S. Coast Guard Seventeenth District
April 9, 2009
Coast Guard crew terminates two fishing vessels for safety violations
JUNEAU, Alaska - The Coast Guard terminated the voyages of two 37-foot commercial fishing vessels within the last two days in Icy Straight near Hoonah, Alaska.
A boarding team from the Coast Guard Cutter Liberty terminated the voyage of one of the fishing vessels Tuesday at 4:07 p.m. due to an expired life raft, expired life raft hydrostatic release and an unserviceable immersion suit. The vessel also had an unserviceable type four throwable device.
Life rafts aboard commercial fishing vessels need to be repacked annually and the one on board hadn't been serviced since 1993. The hydrostatic release needs to be replaced or serviced in the required time frame depending on the type. Type four throwable devices must be in serviceable condition.
The other vessel, which had just one person aboard, had their voyage terminated Wednesday at 6:09 a.m. due to an expired life raft and hydrostatic release. Also, there was no personal marker light on the immersion suit on board, the flares on board were past the expiration date and the type four throwable device was unserviceable.
"Life rafts and immersion suits have made the difference between life and death many times in Alaska," Said Capt. Michael Inman, commander Sector Juneau. "We take the requirement to have them on board seriously."
Both vessels were escorted by the Liberty to Hoonah. The vessels must clear the terminable offenses prior to getting underway and have a compliance option available to them.
The compliance option is the following:
- If the vessels successfully complete a full voluntary dockside examination, they will be issued a warning from the Coast Guard in lieu of a monetary fine.
The 110-foot Island Class Patrol Boat Liberty is based out of Auke Bay, Alaska. They were underway conducting random commercial fishing vessel boardings in the vicinity of Icy Strait.
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 and/or operator of what's right and what needs to be corrected free of charge and penalty free.
For questions or to inquire a free commercial fishing vessel safety exam contact the nearest Coast Guard Sector or Marine Safety Detachment:
Coast Guard Sector Anchorage - (907) 271-6700
Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Valdez - (907) 835-7200
Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Kodiak - (907) 486-5918
Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Kenai - (907) 283-3292
Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Unalaska - (907) 581-3466
Coast Guard Sector Juneau - (907) 463-2448
Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Ketchikan - (907) 225-4406
Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Sitka - (907) 966-5454