The U.S. Coast Guard cited a notice of violation to a 48-foot commercial fishing vessel last week after nearly causing a collision with 600-foot ro/ro Grand Race.

On the day of the near-miss, the crab-fishing vessel was near the Columbia River Bar on the West Coast, a notoriously difficult crossing with recurrent merchant vessel traffic. Meanwhile, the ro/ro was inbound near Buoy Number 8, just south of Peacock Spit. Without providing notice, the fishing vessel’s captain changed its navigation route and cut across the bow of the Grand Race.

Thankfully, the pilot aboard Grand Race detected the hazard and repeatedly sounded a danger signal through channels 13 and 16. Unfortunately, they did not receive response from the vessel.

As a final measure to minimize the risk of a collision, Grand Race reached out to harbor pilot vessel Astoria for assistance. The Astoria shined a spotlight directly at the vessel, getting Grand Race to change its course.

The U.S. Coast Guard issued a notice of violation to the master of the fishing vessel for operating the vehicle under negligence and violating COLREGS Rule 5 (maintaining a proper lookout) and Rule 9 (safe navigation in channels and fairways). Additionally, the vessel owner acquired a federal charge for “interfering with operations of a commercial vessel in a negligent manner that endangers life, limb, or property.” The recommended minimum penalty is $5,000, up to a maximum of about $35,000.

Unfortunately, vessel collisions at sea are common. The sea is an unpredictable place and boating accidents can happen in any number of ways. If you were the victim of a boating accident due to another person’s negligence, an attorney at BOATLAW, LLP, can assist you in getting the recovery you deserve. Call us today at 1 (800) 262-8529 to receive an initial consultation which is free of charge.