Coast Guard initiates legal action against mariners’ credentials after collision

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(SEATTLE) — The U.S. Coast Guard has initiated administrative action related to the mariner credentials of two jet boat operators involved in a collision that occurred on the Willamette River on June 4, 2021.

The jet boats, Peregrine Falcon and Osprey, collided near Hog Island. The vessels came around a bend in the channel where an obstruction prevented the vessel captains from seeing each other and resulted in a failure of the operators to take adequate action to avoid collision.

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Investigators from Marine Safety Unit (MSU) Portland identified violations of the Inland Navigation Rules, specifically rules which establish a consistent way for vessels to navigate safely and avoid collisions when operating in the vicinity of a blind curve. These factors led to the collision that resulted in damage to both vessels and injuries to multiple passengers.

Title 46 of the Code of Federal Regulation § 5.5 states in part that the administrative actions against a merchant mariner credential or endorsement are remedial and not penal in nature. Coast Guard administrative actions are intended to help maintain standards for competence and conduct essential to the promotion of safety at sea.

“The Coast Guard regularly has inspectors go aboard commercial vessels to ensure they are built to and maintained in accordance with certain standards,” said Lt. Carl Eschler, chief investigator, MSU Portland. “The Coast Guard is responsible for issuing credentials to mariners to ensure the operators in commercial service have the knowledge required to operate safely. Our investigators also look into marine casualties involving commercial vessels and issue enforcement when appropriate, through letters of warning, civil penalties, or suspension and revocation. The Coast Guard wants everyone to have fun on the water and do so in a safe manner.”

– U.S. Coast Guard

By Rich Miller