The dive boat Conception on fire off Santa Cruz Island early Monday morning. Photo courtesy Santa Barbara County Fire Department

The U.S. Coast Guard Friday announced it has temporarily prevented two passenger vessels – including one in San Diego – from operating in commercial service after discovering unsafe conditions.

Coast Guard personnel inspected a 1965 wood-built passenger vessel in San Diego on Feb. 25 and found several “safety discrepancies,” according to a statement.

Inspectors discovered that the vessel’s below-deck emergency exit was held shut using marine sealant, and noticed several unapproved electrical system alterations.

The Coast Guard also found issues involving the vessel’s fuel system that constituted a fire hazard.

Inspectors also examined a 1967 wooden vessel used to take passengers on diving excursions in Long Beach on March 11, according to the Coast Guard.

Investigators discovered insufficient and overdue servicing of the vessel’s fire extinguishing systems and several electrical issues that posed fire hazards.

The Coast Guard imposes controls on vessels that are found not to be compliant with applicable laws or regulations, according to a statement.

“In these cases, the vessels’ conditions were substandard and our marine inspectors took action to keep their passengers and the environment safe,” said Captain Greg Callaghan, the 11th Coast Guard District chief of prevention.

He added that both detained vessels must remain in their San Diego and Los Angeles-Long Beach zones, and will not be allowed to operate with passengers until operators correct the discrepancies.

On Sept. 2, 2019, the dive boat Conception caught fire off the coast of Ventura County. All 33 passengers – including one who worked in Coronado – and one crew member died.

No crew members had been ordered to patrol the vessel during the night to monitor the boat’s battery charging station or sound the alarm in case of a fire or other emergency, according to a lawsuit filed by a family member of one of the deceased passengers.

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