Coast Guard inspects tuna fishing boats

July 8, 2008 2:54:25 PM PDT
The U.S. Coast Guard begins its "Operation Safe Tuna 2008" today when it will inspect tuna fishing boats along the North Coast.

The dockside safety spot-checks of tuna vessels are planned between Crescent City and Santa Cruz today and Wednesday.

The inspections in advance of the local albacore fishing season are part of the Coast Guard's effort to reduce the potential loss of lives and fishing vessels in the West Coast tuna fleet.

Inspectors will check lifesaving equipment and vessel watertight integrity to reduce potential casualties.

In previous years, statistics have shown nearly one-third of the Emergency Position Indicating Beacons and life rafts are installed incorrectly, the Coast Guard said, but corrections can be made during the inspections.

The spot inspections are non-punitive but fishing vessels with serious safety discrepancies boarded at sea can be restricted from operating until the discrepancies are corrected.

Vessels that pass the exam will be issued a USCG exam decal that can make boarding at sea less likely or significantly shorter if the decal is valid, Coast Guard officials said.


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