After responding to a report of the incident, Coast Guard Inspectors found several violations of federal safety regulations aboard the towing vessel Joedy, including missing fire extinguishing equipment, a damaged steering system and excessive oil and water in the vessel’s bilge. It was also determined that the operator’s license held by the towing vessel’s master was insufficient for the waters the vessel was operating on.
The Coast Guard is investigating reports that the towing vessel and the barge being pulled may have hit the bridge separating the back bay from the main channel in Newport Beach (Pacific Coast Highway) as many as three times during the past five weeks.
The operator and master of the towing vessel are being investigated for an alleged failure to immediately notify the Coast Guard of a marine casualty as required by federal regulations.
The operating company is cooperating with the investigation and is working towards bringing the vessel operations into regulatory compliance.