April 2012 Archives

April 30, 2012

Search for Missing Tug Captain called off

The Coast Guard over the weekend suspended its search for the master of a tugboat who authorities believe fell overboard from his vessel on Wednesday off the coast of Newport, R.I.

Brendan O'Leary, 48, was last seen around 1:30 p.m. by the crew of the New York-based 91-foot tugboat Steven-Scott, and was reported missing about an hour later. At the time of the incident, the tugboat was about nine miles south of the coast of Newport, R.I. Winds were blowing to 25 mph with waves to 6 feet when the incident occurred.

"We no longer have planes or boats dedicated to the search," said Petty Officer Connie Terrell. The Coast Guard said O'Leary may not have been wearing a life jacket when he fell overboard.

April 27, 2012

Crew Rescued from Fire

On Saturday, April 21, 70-foot Taiwanese F/V HSIN MAN CHUN caught fire, the ten-person crew abandoned ship. The Coast Guard at Guam received an EPIRB signal from HSIN MAN CHUN at around 4:30 p.m., as well as word from a rescue center in Taipei that HSIN MAN CHUN's sister ship had radioed to them that HSIN MAN CHUN was on fire and that her crew were abandoning ship.

As HSIN MAN CHUN was about 700 miles west of Guam, it was a U.S. Navy P-3 aircraft out of Kadena Air Base in Japan and a 950-foot bulk carrier in the area that came to the rescue. The P-3 crew located HSIN MAN CHUN and noted that eight crew were in a life raft while two crew were still on the bridge. The P-3 crew dropped two life rafts and notified the crew of M/V SEMIRIO, which was forty miles away. Once at the scene, SEMIRIO launched a small boat and rescued all ten HSIN MAN CHUN crew members.

April 27, 2012

SAFARI SPIRIT Burns, complete loss

Cruise Yacht SAFARI SPIRIT, operated out of Juneau, AK, by American Safari Cruises, had been preparing for the upcoming tourist season at Fishermen's Terminal, Seattle. She is listed as a 91-foot luxury cruise yacht with a 12-passenger and 6-crew capacity, and was apparently scheduled to sail May 11. SAFARI SPIRIT is now a total loss.

According to reports, at about 1:00 this morning, American Safari CEO Dan Blanchard awoke in the stateroom of SAFARI SPIRIT to "popping noises." He quickly alerted the ship engineer/mate, who was also on board, and they both escaped harm by shimmying down a mooring line. No one else was aboard. The Coast Guard, Seattle Fire Department, and Harbor Patrol all responded quickly, but SAFARI SPIRIT was enveloped in flame by the time firefighters arrived, and the fire continued to burn.

Continue reading "SAFARI SPIRIT Burns, complete loss" »

April 25, 2012

Staten Island Ferry Crash

A loss of propulsion control caused by a faulty valve and lack of alarm to alert crewmembers caused the 2010 Staten Island Ferry collision with the ferry terminal, according to findings from the NTSB investigation into the incident.  

The NTSB says that on May 8, 2010, the 310-foot-long passenger ferry Andrew J. Barberi, one of two ferry boats operated as part of the world famous Staten Island Ferry, lost propulsion control to one its two cycloidal propellers as the vessel approached St. George terminal in Staten Island, New York, causing the ferry to crash into the dock.  The crash resulted in three passengers suffering serious injuries and more than 40 passengers and crew reported with minor injuries.

Continue reading "Staten Island Ferry Crash" »

April 24, 2012

Former BP Engineer Arrested

HOUSTON, TX. -- The Justice Department announced Tuesday, April 24, that a former BP engineer has been arrested on two counts of obstruction of justice for destroying evidence in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster that occurred in the Gulf of Mexico.

The former BP engineer, 50-year old Kurt Mix from Katy, Texas, is the first person to be criminally charged by the DOJ. Mix is accused of deleting a string of 200 text messages with a BP supervisor in October 2010 that involved internal BP information about how efforts to cap the Macondo well were failing.

Having an accurate flow-rate estimate was needed to determine how much in civil and criminal penalties BP and the other companies drilling the Macondo well face under the Clean Water Act.

Mix will make an initial appearance in federal court in Houston on Tuesday afternoon. If Mix is convicted, he could face up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 on each count.

April 22, 2012

Cruise Ship Fire Extinguished

A small fire aboard the Allure of the Seas cruise ship has been extinguished with no reported injuries. Royal Caribbean International spokeswoman Cynthia Martinez said the engine fire occurred about 7:45 p.m. Friday.
The gargantuan cruise ship was sailing from St. Maarten to Port Everglades when the fire broke out. Martinez said the ship's high fog extinguishing system was activated the fire was quickly contained and extinguished.

No passengers or crew were injured, and the ship never lost power. It is scheduled to return to Fort Lauderdale today.

April 20, 2012

Class-Action $7.8 Billion Settlement

BP announced on Wednesday, April 18, that they have reached a class-action settlement with lawyers who represent businesses and individuals who made claims after the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The announcement came two days before the two year anniversary of the April 20, 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster where 11 oil rig workers lost their lives.

A federal judge has to approve the settlement, but BP officials estimate that they will be paying out about $7.8 billion in compensation. Roughly $2.3 billion of that will go to the seafood industry. The money will come from the $20 billion trust fund set up to help revive the area.

"This settlement demonstrates BP's continued progress in resolving significant issues related to the Deepwater Horizon accident," said BP Chief Executive Bob Dudley. "BP made a commitment to help economic and environmental restoration efforts in the Gulf Coast, and this settlement provides the framework for us to continue delivering on that promise, offering those affected full and fair compensation, without waiting for the outcome of a lengthy trial process."

"The people and businesses of the Gulf Coast stand to reap great benefits from these settlements," said plaintiffs counsels, James P. Roy and Stephen J. Herman. "We have held BP fully accountable for the Deepwater Horizon tragedy less than two years after the spill. Through extensive arms-length, good-faith negotiations, hundreds of thousands of Gulf Coast residents and businesses will be made whole."

BP has asked a court to delay a liability trial until it decides whether to grant final approval to the agreements.

April 20, 2012

Crewmember Injured

Crew from F/V ENTERPRISE, a 75-foot clam boat, notified Coast Guard that Joe Montgomery, 47, had been hit in the head by a dislodged pipe. ENTERPRISE was about six miles offshore at the time. Mr. Montgomery's condition was such that he could not be transferred by the motor life boat deployed by the Coast Guard, so the Coast Guard escorted ENTERPRISE to Point Pleasant Beach, where emergency medical crews awaited to transfer the injured man for further care.

April 19, 2012

F/V Disappearance

This week, April 16 - 20, at Camp Rilea in Warrenton, Oregon, the Coast Guard is holding a public hearing as it continues its formal investigation of how LADY CECELIA and the four men aboard may have disappeared.

F/V LADY CECELIA and her crew of three and a NOAA fisheries observer disappeared at sea on March 10, apparently while returning to port with a full load of catch, leaving behind no more than a debris field and an intact, empty life raft. Missing are Dave Nichols and Jason Bjaranson of Warrenton, OR, Luke Jensen of Ilwaco, WA, and Chris Langel of Kaukauna, WI.

April 18, 2012

Squalicum Marina Fire - Two dead

At around 5:30 a.m. on March 30, at the Squalicum Harbor marina in Bellingham, a number of 9-1-1 calls reported a fire. One of the calls was made by Sterling Taylor, who is one of the two missing people who are said to have lived aboard their 42-foot power boat, BREAKWIND, which sunk in the marina fire. The other missing person is her husband, Jim Langei. In her 9-1-1 call, Ms. Taylor apparently expressed that they were trapped on board. By the time firefighters reached the dock, their boat was enveloped in flame.
The cause of the two-alarm fire is, as yet, unknown. It's reported that ten boats were burned. The firefighters had no fireboat to aid them, as the City of Bellingham decommissioned their old fireboat last year. The corrugated metal marina roof in that area collapsed onto the burning boats while crews fought the fire.

Continue reading "Squalicum Marina Fire - Two dead" »

April 16, 2012

Three Rescued, One Deceased, Four Missing

On April 14, the eight member crew of 38-foot S/V LOW SPEED CHASE was participating in the Full Crew Farallones Race around the Farallon Islands, an island group located about 27 miles west of Golden Gate, CA. At around 3:00 that afternoon, the Coast Guard received an EPIRB signal registered to LOW SPEED CHASE, and a mayday call regarding the sailboat.

Continue reading "Three Rescued, One Deceased, Four Missing" »

April 11, 2012

Fisherman Lost Overboard

he crew F/V ELAINE has notified the Coast Guard that one of their crew had gone overboard and was missing. A full-scale search was launched by air, sea, and beach by Coast Guard, local Monterey County fire departments, and California State Parks, but so far the man has not been found. The crew of ELAINE apparently were not certain exactly where their mate had gone overboard, so the search has extended roughly nine miles off the coast of Moss Landing, which is approximately fifty miles south of San Francisco, and between the Pajaro and Salinas Rivers. The search continues this afternoon, but is no longer full-scale.

Continue reading "Fisherman Lost Overboard" »

April 8, 2012

Cruise Ship Collision

Passengers aboard the Silver Shadow luxury cruise liner after it recently collided with a container ship five miles off the Vietnamese coast who observed the collision and its aftermath felt that owner Silversea Cruises' reference to the collision as a "minor incident" of "contact between the Silver Shadow and a local commercial vessel" was an understatement.

In dense fog the Vietnamese container ship came out of nowhere and was suddenly broadside to the cruise ship's bow, where it was struck within a matter of seconds. The container ship rolled over but did not capsize, and actually righted itself as it was moved by the passing cruise liner.

Continue reading "Cruise Ship Collision" »

April 8, 2012

Costa Concordia Survivors

A married couple that survived the January 13 Costa Concordia shipwreck was recently interviewed during a congressional hearing. Members of the House Transportation Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation listened intently to the first-hand account offered by Divya Sharma and her husband Sameer about the onboard chaos that surrounded the event that fateful night.

Mrs. Sharma reported that at approximately 9:15 PM that evening, as their dinner was being served, they experienced violent shaking, loud noises, broken china, and lost lights as the ship listed to port. Although announcements were made stating that "Everything is under control, it seems to be a generator failure", the Sharmas noticed that there were crew members outside of the dining room with life jackets on.

Continue reading "Costa Concordia Survivors" »

April 7, 2012

Tugboat Sinks

The tugboat Altro Donna sank after alliding with a piling near Commodore Dock in Marrero, Louisiana with three crewmembers onboard.  

According to the U.S. Coast Guard report, at approximately 12:10 a.m Friday a call came in that Altro Donna collided with a piling and sank while transiting downbound pushing eight empty red-flag barges. The Altro Donna reportedly had an estimated 11,500 gallons of diesel fuel and 52 gallons of lube oil. All three crewmembers disembarked safely before the vessel sank.

No injuries were reported and the river remained open following the incident.

April 7, 2012

Barge Worker Falls to His Death

The body of a barge worker who fell into the Mississippi River while working on a bridge-building project on Wednesday, March 28, was recovered by search teams the following day. According to East St. Louis Police Chief, Michael Floore, divers found the body of 35-year-old Andy Gammon of Park Hills, Mo. on Thursday, March 29. East Saint Louis is located in St. Clair County, Illinois in the southwestern part of the state, about 93 miles southwest of Springfield and 42 miles northwest of Evansville.

The accident occurred at around 10:30 a.m. when the four-wheeled aerial lift Gammon was in toppled into the river from a barge near East St. Louis. Police, coast guard and rescue crews searched the Mississippi north of downtown for more than five hours on Wednesday.

Continue reading "Barge Worker Falls to His Death" »

April 2, 2012

Coast Guard Authorization Act

The Congress and the President passed a new law recently, which gives the USCG the authority to replace aging ships and aircraft with modern craft, improve USCG stations and housing, train personnel, and strengthens maritime security.

Specific to the commercial fishing industry, the Act provides the USCG more authority to amend and clarify, regulate, and enforce safety standards. Vessel and equipment standards now are to be determined based on where the vessel operates, not on where it's registered. The goal of these uniform standards is to ensure fairness and to simplify to application of regulations. The emphasis here is on safety, both to prevent accidents and to buy survival time while awaiting rescue.

April 2, 2012

Costa Concordia More Bodies Found

Search crews under the direction of the Italian Civil Protection agency discovered five more bodies today trapped in the water below the capsized Costa Concordia. The cruise ship sank after it was gashed by a reef on January 13, just offshore this small island.

No details are available yet about the five victims that were spotted today in spaces between the hull and the seabed as divers were setting up a robot to help them search the inaccessible parts of the wrecked ship. Officials estimate that it will be several days before the robotic device will be able to access and remove the trapped victims.

Continue reading "Costa Concordia More Bodies Found" »