The duty officer at the Coast Guard Station on St. Thomas says he's pleased with the signs of compliance he and his officers have found on most St. John-based barges and ferries.
Coast Guard officials began boarding vessels Monday to check whether they were complying with a list of safety regulations.
"Everything went very, very well," Lt. Charles Barbee said. "We did find some oil in one or two of the vessels, but otherwise we were very, very happy and at this point it's just a matter of maintaining it."
Barbee said he ordered the inspections because he had found that most vessels operating between St. John, St. Thomas and the British Virgin Islands were not making the required safety announcements to passengers upon departure. But as of 6 a.m. Monday, the announcement was being heard by riders commuting from Cruz Bay to Red Hook.
The inspections included motor vehicle barges. Barbee said he was pleased to find the required number of life jackets and flotation devices on board all vessels.
Ferry and barge operators had been receiving informational letters from the Coast Guard for six months reminding them of safety and environmental regulations.
Barbee said since inspectors found only two or three problem areas and the operators promised to make the required corrections, no fines or penalties would likely be assessed for any violations identified in this round of inspections.