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uscg john bafia inspectsPHOTO: Coast Guard Chief Warrant Officer John Bafia inspects a New York Waterway vessel with the help of a crew member November 23, 2019. The Coast Guard inspected all of New York Waterway's operational ferries in less than two weeks. (Courtesy photo by U.S. Coast Guard)

NEW YORK -- The Coast Guard ordered 23 New York Waterway ferries to suspend service over the last week after a series of inspections found the vessels to be operationally unfit.

Coast Guard Sector New York marine inspectors determined the 23 ferries had damage or discrepancies significant enough to warrant suspension of operations. So far, two of those vessels have been reinspected and returned to normal operations.

uscg matthew massey inspectsPHOTO: Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Matthew Massey inspects a New York Waterway vessel with the help of a crew member 23 November, 2019. The Coast Guard inspected all of New York Waterway's operational ferries in less than two weeks. (Courtesy photo by U.S. Coast Guard)

“The safety of the public is our top priority, and we expect our ferry operators to uphold the highest standards,” said Capt. Jason Tama, commander of Coast Guard Sector New York. “We know many people rely on these ferries for daily commutes, and as these discrepancies are rectified, we will work with New York Waterway to return these ferries to operations as quickly as possible.”

New York Waterway currently operates 32 ferries in the New York area. Upon discovering multiple discrepancies during routine vessel inspections over the past two weeks, the Coast Guard conducted and inspection of 100 percent of the operational fleet, including 21 vessels alone on Saturday.