Three Alaska fishing vessels have been ordered by the United States Coast Guard to return to port for violations of safety regulations. One of the vessels had an expired life raft and the other two vessels lacked primary safety devices. Two of the vessels also had expired documentation. Two of the vessels were home ported in Craig, Alaska and the third vessel was from Klawock.
Coast Guard regulations require life rafts to be repacked annually and the hydrostatic releases must be regularly replaced and serviced. The Coast Guard conducts random vessel inspections of commercial fishing vessels. Remarkably, fishing vessels have few safety regulations that apply to them yet fishing vessels such as these still fail to comply with basic regulations relating to life saving equipment. In the past twenty years, epirbs, life rafts, and survival suits have allowed crewmen to survive many vessel sinkings. These three cited vessels will have to prove compliance with Coast Guard regulations before they can return to sea. Voluntary dockside safety inspections are available from the Coat Guard to all commercial fishing vessels.
Failure to maintain life safety equipment may render a vessel unseaworthy and result in imposition of liability in cases involving injuries and wrongful deaths.