Monday, September 28, 2015

USCG Detains Cargo Vessel in Tacoma

By Mark Edward Nero

The M/V Rena, a 751-foot Bahamian-flagged cargo vessel, was detained by the US Coast Guard at the Port of Tacoma on September 24 due to safety deficiencies. The vessel is required to remain in port until the deficiencies are rectified.

The detainment occurred after a Port State Control exam team from the Coast Guard’s Puget Sound sector conducted a routine port state and international ship and port facility security exam aboard the M/V Rena.

During a Port State Control exam, the Coast Guard conducts an extensive inspection of systems, including fire protection, life saving, machinery, navigation and pollution control systems, and assesses the crew's ability to respond to onboard emergencies.

A vessel that is determined to be substandard is subject to a detention and must remain in port until it can proceed to sea without presenting a danger to persons on board or without presenting an unreasonable threat of harm to the marine environment.

While aboard the M/V Rena, the Coast Guard says it discovered multiple areas that did not meet regulations set forth in the International Maritime Organization’s Safety of Life at Sea Convention. The most severe deficiency involved improper pressurization of the crew’s self-contained breathing apparatus. Malfunctioning SCBAs would prevent the crew from safely responding to a fire aboard the vessel.

“Coast Guard examiners determined that key safety procedures were inadequate and the crew did not have the necessary equipment to safely respond to an onboard emergency," said Cmdr. Matt Edwards, chief of prevention at Sector Puget Sound. “We will continue to work with the vessel's crew and the appropriate authorities to ensure that the issues found are corrected before the vessel resumes operations.”