Coast Guard suspends Beaufort County ferry operation over safety concerns

Coast Guard suspends Beaufort County ferry operation over safety concerns
Coast Guard Sector Charleston issued orders for a ferry operation to cease all operations amid safety concerns. (Source: U.S. Coast Guard Dist. 7)

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Coast Guard Sector Charleston issued orders for a ferry seen transporting cars between Hilton Head and Daufuskie Island to cease all operations.

Marine inspectors identified unsafe conditions on 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, according to a release from the Coast Guard

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, the release states.

Investigators say they also 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," Sector Commander Capt. John Reed said. "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.

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