The Coast Guard Captain of the Port of New York and New Jersey yesterday (13 February) ordered Bouchard Transportation to ‘immediately’ move three tug and fuel barge units anchored in New York Harbor to a safe berth so they can undergo additional safety inspections to determine they are fit to return to service.
In a statement issued yesterday, the US Coast Guard said: ‘As a result of recent safety checks, the Coast Guard has determined the operational condition of these vessels poses a risk to the safety of New York and New Jersey waterways. Specifically, Bouchard has been unable to consistently maintain safe fuel and manning levels aboard these vessels, and does not have adequate contingencies in place for emergency weather or other conditions requiring movement within the port.’
Capt. Jason Tama, Captain of the Port of New York, commented: ‘My number one priority is to ensure not only the safety of the public and our waterways, but the health and well-being of the crews who do the difficult and hazardous work of operating these vessels.
‘This is not an action we wanted to take, however, we have a responsibility to keep our waterways safe, and Bouchard’s inability to maintain safe operational conditions aboard these tugs and fuel barges has forced me to take this step.’
The US Coast Guard statement added that there are currently three other Bouchard tug and fuel barge units at anchor in addition to several other Bouchard vessels moored at piers in New York and New Jersey. The US Coast Guard said that it is ‘currently closely monitoring these additional vessels to ensure they do not pose a threat to the safety of the port’.