December 2010 Archives

December 31, 2010

Coast Guard airlifts stranded boaters

The Coast Guard airlifted two people after their skiff ran aground in Skagit Bay just southeast of La Conner, Wash., Thursday.

At approximately 6:00 p.m., Skagit County, Wash. Sheriff's Dept. received a call stating a 20-ft inflatable skiff had run aground in shallow water just south of Goat Island.

A Skagit County Sheriff's Dept. vessel crew arrived on scene at approximately 7:00 p.m., but were unable to reach the skiff due to shallow water.

Skagit County Sheriff's Dept. notified the Coast Guard that the two persons aboard the skiff were advised to wait for the tide to come in so they could return to shore safely.

Later, the Coast Guard received a call stating the two persons had attempted to wade to shore but were now wet, back in the skiff and facing the early stages of hypothermia.

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December 31, 2010

Transocean Refuses Subpoenas

NEW ORLEANS -- Transocean is refusing to honor subpoenas from a federal board that has intervened on behalf of U.S. Chemical Safety Board. A federal board has challenged Transocean's involvement in monitoring the testing of the blowout preventer that failed to stop the oil spill disaster that blewup the Deepwater Horizon on April 20, 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico.

Transocean says that U.S. Chemical Safety Board does not have jurisdiction in the probe, so it doesn't have a right to the documents and other items it seeks. The federal board, however, says that U.S. Chemical Safety Board does have a right and has intervened to enforce the subpoenas.

December 30, 2010

Boater Rescued by Security Boats

Ken Mednick of Bremerton was taking advantage of the sunny weather Thursday, riding in his 12-foot skiff toward Port Orchard. He thought he might pick up a loaf of bread at the Morningside Bread & Pastry Company on Bay Street.

Mednick was in the middle of the channel on Sinclair Inlet, when suddenly waves slopped over the side of the boat, half filling it with water.

"I don't really have a good explanation of how it happened," he said. "It was the direction of the wind, the direction of the waves and the speed of the boat."

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December 30, 2010

Crewman shot

Police in St. Maarten say a cruise ship crew member has been shot in an attempted robbery. Police spokesman Ricardo Henson says the victim works on board the Aurora. His wounds are not life threatening. The attack occurred on Wednesday near two brothels in the former Dutch Caribbean colony.

Violent crime is relatively rare in St. Maarten especially against foreigners.

Gahadhar Pradhan told reporters at the hospital that he was walking from one brothel to another to look for a friend when an armed man approached him and demanded his money.

He said he told the robber to take his money when the man suddenly shot him and fled with nothing. Henson said a search was on for the suspect.

December 29, 2010

Man Evacuated From Cruise Ship

Two helicopters were used to rescue an 80-year-old man from a cruise ship in the Tasman Sea yesterday.

The helicopters were sent from Te Anau to carry out the medical evacuation from the cruise liner Silver Shadow after the man suffered "a medical event", Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand spokeswoman Sophie Hazelhurst said.

He was flown to Dunedin Hospital for treatment. His condition was not known this morning.
The Silver Shadow was heading from Australia to Milford Sound and was 232km west of Milford Sound.

Ms Hazelhurst said it was usual to use two helicopters for long distance evacuations.

December 27, 2010

Blowout Investigation Compromised

An investigation into the failure of the blowout preventer (BOP) from the Gulf Oil Spill in 2010 may have been compromised due to a conflict of interest between the investigating firm and employees of companies involved in the incident.

Doubt is being raised because a Transocean Ltd. employee was allowed to manipulate some of the equipment on the BOP during the investigation. Transocean is the owner of the Deepwater Horizon, the oil rig involved in the disastrous Gulf coast oil spill which is under investigation. British Petroleum (BP) was leasing the oil rig from Transocean at the time of the disaster.

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December 24, 2010

Coast Guard medevac from cruise ship

Coast Guard medically evacuated a man after receiving a call for assistance from a cruise ship near the entrance to the Cape Fear River, N.C., Sunday.

At approximately 12:30 p.m. watchstanders at the Coast Guard's 5th District command center in Portsmouth received a call from a crewmember aboard the Norwegian Gem stating that there was a 77 year-old male apparently suffering from acute pulmonary edema.

A rescue boat crew from Coast Guard Station Oak Island, N.C., was dispatched at approximately 5:30 p.m. and arrived on scene at approximately 6:30 p.m.

The man, along with his son, were transferred from the cruise ship to the rescue boat then transported to awaiting Emergency Medical Services at Coast Guard Station Oak Island. From there, the two men were transported to New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington, N.C.

December 24, 2010

Tourist dead after fall

A British tourist is feared dead after falling overboard on a Caribbean cruise, according to reports.

An unnamed 50 year old woman fell from the balcony of her cabin on the Sea Princess, sailing between Curacao and Grand Turk islands. CCTV images showed her falling into the sea.

The ship combed the area and a search plane was launched but the woman was not found.

She was reported missing by her husband on the fifth day of their two week Christmas holiday.

December 24, 2010

Man dies in boating accident

A Florida man had just purchased a boat that sank off the southern New Jersey coast, killing him and leaving a second man hospitalized.

New Jersey State Police Sgt. Steve Jones says 62-year-old Gregory Arlotta, of Fort Myers, Fla. is missing and presumed dead after his boat sank early Thursday about seven miles off Cape May.

Officials say Arlotta bought the 63-foot vessel in New York a few days earlier and was transporting it to New Orleans when it sank.

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December 23, 2010

Anadarko Named in Oil Spill Lawsuit

Anadarko was recently named a defendant by the US Department of Justice in the lawsuit filed pertaining to the Deepwater Horizon Gulf oil spill.

Anadarko has a 25% stake in the failed Macondo well that led to the Gulf oil spill in April 2010. The suit also names BP which was the primary operator of the Macondo well, in addition to Mitsui & Co., Triton Asset Leasing, and Transocean, as well as BP's insurer, QBE Underwriting Ltd.

The suit alleges that the companies violated safety procedures and failed to use the best available and safest drilling technology to monitor the well's conditions leading up to the crisis.

December 22, 2010

Crewman Lost, Captain Resuscitated

The 30-foot fishing vessel ELLA ANN sank at the mouth of Willapa Bay on Sunday while fishing for dungeness crab. One of two crewmen, 34 year old Luis Perez was tragically lost. The caused of the capsize and sinking is unknown, but will be investigated by the Coast Guard. The captain of the vessel, Eric Petit, was revived with CPR by a helicopter crew after he was rescued.

December 20, 2010

Helicopter Tracking Improved

Offshore helicopters in the North Sea will now be tracked at every stage of their journey to improve safety, reducing the risk of offshore helicopter crashes and enhance the chances of survival after a crash.

Oil and Gas UK and the National Air Traffic Services, say the tracking system is part of a new surveillance system that will track offshore helicopters transporting oil rig crews between shores and platforms, from the moment they lift off to the time they reach their destination. The tracking system uses receivers and transmitters fitted to offshore platforms that allow air traffic controllers to monitor the helicopters at a much greater range than they currently do.

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December 20, 2010

Airboat flips; two hospitalized

Two men are being treated for injuries after their airboat ejected them near the Brevard-Volusia county line early today.

The men had been riding the airboat over mostly dry ground about 7:54 a.m. near Hatbill Road and Baxter Point in Mims when the boat overturned and ejected them, according to Brevard County Fire Rescue.

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December 17, 2010

Justice Sues BP and 8 Others

The Justice Department has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in New Orleans against BP and eight other companies involved in the Gulf oil spill that followed the blowout of the Deepwater Horizon Macondo well on April 20, 2010. The lawsuit was announced by the Justice Department on Wednesday, December 15, 2010.

Nine companies were named in the lawsuit which the government has filed in order for the defendants to pay for the environmental and economic damage incurred from the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

The complaint filed Wednesday alleges violations of federal safety regulations leading to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico after the explosion and fire on the Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling rig.

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December 15, 2010

Feds sue BP

The Justice Department sued BP and several other companies involved in the Gulf oil spill Wednesday, an opening salvo in the government's effort to get billions of dollars for untold economic and environmental damage.

The government accuses the companies of disregarding federal safety regulations in drilling the well that blew out April 20 and triggered a deadly explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig.

The lawsuit makes it possible for the federal government to seek billions of dollars in penalties for polluting the Gulf of Mexico, beaches and wetlands, and reimbursement for its cleanup costs. More than 300 lawsuits filed previously by individuals and businesses, and now consolidated in the New Orleans federal court, include claims for financial losses and compensation for the families of 11 workers killed in the blast.

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December 15, 2010

Cruise Ship Damaged

A wave slammed into an Antarctic cruise ship with 88 American passengers and 77 crew members aboard. The crew overcame the damage and was heading back to its scheduled port on Wednesday, the vessel's operator said.

The Clelia II declared an emergency on Tuesday, reporting it had suffered engine damage amid heavy seas and 55 mph (90 kph) winds when it was northeast of the South Shetland Islands and about 500 miles (845 kilometers) from Ushuaia, the Argentine Navy said in a statement.

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December 15, 2010

Drilling Plans Raise Concerns

Maritime safety analysts are concerned about the decision to give Chevron permission to begin drilling activities in September off the coast of Scotland. The company has admitted that its contractor's spill protection software is unstable, has frequently crashed and cannot be taken as a reliable predictor of the extent of an oil spill should one occur.

BP seriously consider data from its own software that indicated that the well was unstable contributing to the Gulf of Mexico explosion earlier this year. Chevron has admitted that it has serious computing software problems. These concerns were outlined in confidential documents that were sent to the Department Of Energy and Climate Change. In spite of this, the company was given the go-ahead to begin drilling.

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December 15, 2010

Oil Rig Fire Injures Workers

Three oil rig workers were injured when a fire broke out aboard a rig off the coast of Louisiana last week. The explosion occurred in the Bayou Perot . According to news reports, the three rig workers were welding on the oil rig when it caught fire.

The oil operator Louisiana Delta Oil Company was able to contact the Coast Guard in time. The fire left the three workers with burn injuries. They were taken to the town of Jean Lafitte, which located about 3 miles from the rig and were admitted to hospital for treatment. At least one of the workers has suffered severe burns, while two of the workers are reported to have suffered minor burns.

The rig was a work over rig, which is typically used to conduct repair work on another well. The Coast Guard has initiated an investigation into the fire.

December 9, 2010

Fined for Oil Spill

The owner of a 24-passenger cruise ship faces a $15,500 Washington Dept of Ecology fine for an oil spill earlier this year into Sinclair Inlet. In related actions -- separate from the penalty -- Ecology assessed more than $20,000 in state spill-response costs and damage to natural resources.

The 157-foot Mist Cove released an estimated 456 gallons of diesel fuel while moored in downtown Port Orchard at the Port Orchard Railway Marina on March 8, 2010. The spill occurred when the ship's senior engineer attempted to transfer oil between two tanks on board the vessel.

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December 9, 2010

Two dead, six missing in collision

Two men have died and six are missing after two commercial vessels collided Tuesday off the east coast of Hong Kong, the city's marine department said, as it expanded an air and sea rescue operation.

At about 3:15 am, police received a report about a sand barge with 14 crew on board colliding with a container vessel with nine crew, a department spokesman told AFP.
Hong Kong's fire services dispatched five rescue boats with about 100 crew to the scene in a bid to find the missing mainland Chinese seamen.

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December 8, 2010

"High Degree of Ineptitude"

A commission into the Deepwater Horizon explosion in the Gulf of Mexico will address oil and gas industry officials later this week, and is expected to focus on many of the concerns being addressed. Representatives of the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in Offshore Drilling will tell a gathering of oil and gas industry officials this week, that a major overhaul of the system is needed in order to prevent disasters like the Gulf of Mexico oil rig explosion.

According to the Wall Street Journal, William K. Reilly, who is the cochairman of the National Commission, plans to ask the oil and gas industry for a "major transformation" in how it handles safety issues in order to avoid another major disaster like the Deepwater Horizon explosion. According to Reilly, he also wants to inform the industry that BP, Halliburton and Transocean - the three companies that have shared much of the blame for the explosion - made highly preventable mistakes, and showed a high degree of ineptitude.

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December 7, 2010

Crash Caused by Inadequate Windshield

The National Transportation Safety Board blames a laminated windshield that did not have resistance to bird hits as a factor in a fatal offshore helicopter crash in Louisiana last year.

In February 2009, the helicopter which was carrying nine people, including seven offshore rig workers, crashed in Louisiana as it was on its way to a Gulf of Mexico oil platform. Eight crew were killed in the crash. The National Transportation Safety Board now says that the crash occurred because of a bird hit. The bird strike caused fuel to the engine to be shut down, and the pilots who were likely dazed by the incident, were unable to control the helicopter in time.

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December 7, 2010

BP Disputes Spill Size to Avoid Fines

With billions of dollars in federal fines at stake BP are challenging the size of the oil spill from the Deepwater Horizon Macondo well that exploded in April 2010 in order to avoid fines for their part in the disaster.

BP is contending that the government's numbers are "highly unreliable," and believes that as little as half that amount ultimately flowed into the Gulf.

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December 6, 2010

Passenger Sues for Toxic Gas Exposure

A Royal Caribbean cruise passenger has sued the cruise line operator in a toxic gas exposure incident that occurred aboard a vessel in 2005. According to the lawsuit, Royal Caribbean was aware of the toxic gas leak, but placed the lives of thousands of passengers and several of the crew members on the vessel at risk by continuing to operate the unsafe cruise for months before repairs had been completed.

Monarch of the Seas was in the Port of Los Angeles in September 2005, when the toxic gas exposure occurred. According to the complaint, Royal Caribbean failed to maintain permanent ballast tanks on the vessel. The tanks contained a combination of puper water, seawater and gray water, and this mix generated hydrogen sulfide. Prolonged exposure to hydrogen sulfide can lead to brain injuries and lung damage. Excessive exposure can even cause death. The toxic gas exposure on the cruise ended with one person dead, and three crew members seriously injured.

December 3, 2010

Deepwater Triggers Drilling Reduction

The Interior Department is reversing the plan laid out last March, before the BP oil spill, to drill for oil off the East Coast and in the eastern Gulf of Mexico. The new plan means no new drilling proposals off of the East Coast for at least seven years.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said that the move would ban drilling until beyond 2017 oil and gas exploration in areas where there is currently no drilling activity, such as the eastern Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida, and the mid- and southern Atlantic Ocean.

The reversal was made "in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill" which brought with it a stricter regulatory regime and tougher safety rules for offshore drilling, Salazar said.

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December 3, 2010

Vessel at Risk from Intoxicated Passenger

An intoxicated cruise passenger from California endangered the vessel when allegedly tried to released the anchor on the vessel.

The man was on a Holland America cruise ship en route to Florida at the time. 44-year-old Rick Ehlert apparently gained access to a restricted area, put on work gloves and threw a life buoy overboard. Surveillance video camera recorded the episode. The captain sounded an alarm to gather all passengers.

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December 2, 2010

Warning after explosion

British safety officials are warning cruise lines and other companies that operate ships with large electric motors to check their machinery in the wake of a little-publicized explosion earlier this year on Cunard Line's Queen Mary 2.

The UK's Maritime Accident Investigation Branch says the Sept. 23 explosion near one of the Queen Mary 2's main electric switchboard rooms occurred after the failure of a capacitor. Leaking oil sprayed onto high voltage bars, causing a "major arc flash event," the agency says.

No one was injured in the explosion, but it was large enough to blow the steel door to the area with the capacitor out of its frame and resulted in extensive damage to surrounding electrical panels, according to the report.

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December 1, 2010

Offshore Incident Investigated

Norwegian police have opened an investigation into whether oil company Statoil violated any safety laws during a near disastrous offshore incident on an oil platform Gullfax C last year. The incident on the Gullfax C has since been described by Norwegian safety officials as a "near blowout" incident.

Statoil was forced to immediately evacuate the platform after a sudden and unexpected change in pressure as the company was drilling the well. The incident has been described as a loss of well-control, that could have well ballooned into a Deepwater-Horizon-like blowout. According to the Norwegian Petroleum Safety Authority, the fact that the incident did not result in a catastrophe was purely a matter of luck. Last week, the Petroleum Safety Authority published a report, which said that the well incident on the Gullfax C could have easily turned into a full-fledged disaster. Norwegian police have now begun an investigation into that incident.

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