By Mark Edward Nero
The US Coast Guard on Feb. 23 detained two Panama-flagged bulk carriers, Atlantic Ruby and Amber L after discovering what it says are substandard safety issues while conducting routine exams on board the vessels along the Columbia and Willamette rivers.
The violations were discovered through the Port State Control program, under which the Coast Guard verifies that foreign flagged vessels operating in US waters comply with applicable international conventions, US laws, and US regulations.
Atlantic Ruby, a 590-foot bulk carrier, was boarded in Portland last Thursday after Port State Control officers detected the safety deficiencies. Coast Guard inspectors say they found the fire extinguishing system was improperly serviced, with the time delays left disconnected. The time delay ensures personnel inside a room can escape before the fixed fire-extinguishing agent is released.
A separate exam conducted in Kalama on board Amber L, a 609-foot bulk carrier, identified several safety discrepancies, including cooling water leaking from the main engine, and multiple issues with the vessel’s steering system, per the USCG.
With both vessels identified as not being in substantial compliance with applicable laws or regulations, the Coast Guard has imposed controls until the conditions have been rectified and the vessels are brought into compliance.
Atlantic Ruby and Amber L are expected to remain in the Columbia River captain of the port zone until the discrepancies are corrected.