Seven foreign-flag vessels have been detained in Oregon since November after Coast Guard examiners found shortcomings during Port State Control inspections – including one case where a ship’s carbon dioxide firefighting system was inoperable.
In that most recent instance the Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Portland found 100 CO2 cylinders still had in place safety pins that prevent accidental discharges of the gas during transportation and installation. That mistake would have prevented extinguishing any fire in the ship’s cargo holds or machinery spaces, Coast Guard officials said.
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, in a prepared statemnent. “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.”