When the crew of the 270-foot Coast Guard Cutter Legare boarded a fishing vessel 150 miles east of Cape Cod for a safety inspection, we’re sure they expected some facet of working safety equipment on board.
That wasn’t the case.
The Coast Guard prematurely ended the fishing voyage of the vessel Hot Tuna after the crew discovered the boat did not have a life ring, its flares had expired before 2007, the hydrostatic release on the emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) expired in 2005, and the battery of the EPIRB failed when tested.
The boat’s life raft also expired last year.
“All of this equipment is essential for the safety of the crew,” said Petty Officer 1st Class James Bayer, the search and rescue controller at the First Coast Guard District Command Center in Boston. “This gear can save your life if you find yourself in distress and to not have it on board your vessel can put you and your crew in a dangerous and potentially deadly situation.”
The two-person crew of the Hot Tuna, based in Harwich, was directed to return to port and was restricted from getting underway until the discrepancies are corrected and verified by Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England personnel.
The boat will stop in Nantucket where it will fall under escort by the Cutter Vigorous, a 210-foot medium endurance cutter, en route to Great Round Shoal. The vessels will arrive Thursday morning.
“With temperatures dropping it’s more important than ever that mariners ensure they have the proper, required gear on board their vessel and make sure it’s in good, working order,” said Bayer. “We are boarding vessels to ensure they meet the requirements in hopes that this gear would save their life if they were in the position to need it.”