Coast Guard suspends Hilton Head ferry operation

The following is text of a news release from the U.S. Coast Guard:

(CHARLESTON, S.C.) — Coast Guard Sector Charleston marine inspectors identified unsafe conditions Nov. 8 on a barge moored at Broad Creek Marina, Hilton Head, which posed a serious threat to the marine environment and safety of the waterway.

The barge's condition resulted in captain of the port orders to cease all operations.

The barge and associated tug, Jake Washington, had been observed operating as a car ferry between Hilton Head and Daufuskie Island without the required U.S. Coast Guard certificate of inspection (COI). Further investigation discovered a lack of watertight integrity, poor condition of the vessel's structure, excessive water in voids, firefighting deficiencies and electrical hazards.

"As captain of the port, one of my highest priorities is the safety of the people on the water, the waterway and marine environment," said Capt. John Reed, the sector commander. "I am grateful for the experienced marine inspectors for identifying the serious issues and unsafe conditions of this barge. Their work helped prevent a potentially catastrophic marine casualty and resulting impact to the safety of life, property and the environment."

The order was issued under the Ports and Waterways Safety Act.

By Professional Mariner Staff