- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 2, 2014

ILWACO, Wash. (AP) - The Coast Guard has escorted a commercial crab fishing vessel back to port in southwest Washington after saying it found several safety violations including expired flares and an insufficient number of survival suits.

The 58-foot Shearwater Two was boarded Monday three miles off Long Beach, Washington, by officers from the Coast Guard and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Wildlife Sgt. Dan Chadwick says the ship’s homeport is Westport, Washington. He did not identify its owner.

The ship was escorted to Ilwaco, Washington.

Chadwick says the fish and wildlife department will pursue criminal charges against the boat owner for alleged fisheries violations that include pulling crab pots before the season opened.

The Coast Guard’s Columbia River sector has conducted nearly 200 vessel safety and fisheries boardings so far this year as part of Operation Safe Crab, an initiative to reduce the number of fishermen’s lives lost at sea during the often-dangerous crabbing season.

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