Cutter terminates fishing vessel voyage for safety violation
KODIAK — The Coast Guard cutter Acushnet terminated the voyage of the commercial fishing vessel Topaz after a boarding Thursday about 14 miles southeast of Cape Chiniak.
A boarding team found the vessel master operating without any immersion suits available for the crew. The Coast Guard requires commercial fishing vessels to operate with immersion suits available for each crewmember in appropriate sizes.
"This was a serious oversight by the crew of the fishing vessel Topaz and could have resulted in a significant loss of life had it not been for the vigilance of the Acushnet's boarding team," said Lt. Kirk Fistick, operations officer for the Acushnet. "We were happy to clear the violation upon returning to Kodiak, where the survival suits were stored."
At the time of the boarding, the Topaz, a stern trawler, was conducting a test trawl in an approved area to ensure all fishing gear was operational.
All vessels are reminded that they must carry immersion suits at all times while under way.
The vessel's crew was escorted by the Acushnet to the Kodiak port. The boarding team remained on board during the transit.
"The boarding team from the cutter Acushnet was able to inspect the survival suits that were waiting at the pier, allowing the fishing vessel Topaz to get under way the next day," Fistick said.
The crew of the Acushnet boarded four other vessels Thursday in the Kodiak area.