Every year, the U.S. Coast Guard’s District 8, headquartered in New Orleans, handles more than its fair share of emergency response scenarios.
This past spring saw the District’s U.S.-based Gulf sectors responding by air and sea to a variety of urgent events that define just one of the 233-year-old Service’s 11 core missions.
Just a few examples…
• On March 13, the Coast Guard coordinated the launch of a Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter aircrew after receiving a 7 a.m. report that a man aboard an oil platform about 40 miles south of Port Fourchon, La., was reportedly having difficulty breathing.
The aircraft arrived on scene, landed on the platform, embarked the man, and transferred him to awaiting emergency medical services personnel at the University Medical Center.
• Ten days later, on March 23, a 65-year-old crewmember was medevac’d from the M/V Solitaire after he was reported experiencing “heart attack-like” symptoms. The vessel was located approximately 13 miles south of Port Fourchon, La.
The Coast Guard Eighth District and Coast Guard Sector New Orleans command center received the report and a Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter was dispatched. The aircrew arrived on scene, hoisted the crewmember aboard, and transported him to University Medical Center in New Orleans.
• On Friday, March 31, command center watch standers at Coast Guard Station Sabine received notification at 5:38 a.m. that the crew of the tug Sea Cypress hailed ‘Mayday’ on VHF-FM channel 13 and reported the vessel was capsizing while moored near the mouth of the Sabine Pass channel.
An urgent marine information alert was broadcast and the launch of a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium from the station at Sabine Pass was ordered.
“An on-scene Sabine Pilot boat operator reported that two of the Sea Cypress crew used a handheld torch to cut a hole in the bulkhead and free two crewmen trapped in the partially submerged vessel’s galley,” according to an official statement.
“The Coast Guard boat crew arrived on scene, took the four tugboat crewmen aboard and brought them ashore to Station Sabine. Jefferson County EMS personnel assessed the four mariners and transported them to Southeast Texas Medical Center in Port Arthur, Texas, in stable condition.”
• Coast Guard Sector Corpus Christi watch standers received a medevac request at 10:49 p.m., Saturday, April 9, from the Corpus Christi Harbor Master’s Office reporting that the 59-year-old captain of the towing vessel Endurance was experiencing abdominal pain and severe nausea.
A medevac was ordered and a 29-foot Response Boat–Small (RB-S) was dispatched from Coast Guard Station Port Aransas to assist. The boat crew rendezvoused with the towing vessel, took the man aboard and transferred him to emergency medical services personnel waiting at Bahia Marina in Ingleside, Tx.
• Four days later, on April 13, the 69-year-old captain of the 29,242-ton oil/chemical carrier Overseas Anacortes, was reported to be experiencing “heart attack-like symptoms,” according to a statement issued by Coast Guard Sector Mobile after the event.
Watch standers, the statement said, received a call at 12:17 p.m. via VHF-FM channel 16 from the crew aboard the ship, which was steaming about 218 miles SSE of the coast of Alabama. The captain was evaluated to be in “stable condition” and was transported to University Medical Center New Orleans, the Coast Guard said.
• On April 18, an ailing crewmember was medevac’d by a Coast Guard helicopter from an offshore pipelay barge in the Gulf of Mexico, some 22 miles south of Cameron, La.
The Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston received a medevac request relay at 6:45 a.m. from District 8 headquarters in New Orleans, stating that a 42-year-old crew member aboard the 265-foot-long DLB Super Chief was experiencing seizures.
Watch standers consulted with the duty flight surgeon, who recommended a helicopter medevac and an MH-65 ‘Dolphin’ aircraft from Coast Guard Air Station Houston was dispatched. The ‘Dolphin’ arrived on scene, hoisted the man aboard and transported him to the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, where he was reported in stable condition.
According to the barge’s operator, Louisiana-based Chet Morrison Contractors, the 265’ x 72’ DLB Super Chief is an ABS-classed pipelay barge with accommodations for 93 personnel.
The U.S.-flagged barge, acquired by Morrison in 2019, is used to lay submarine pipe and cable. Outfitted with a 100 KIP pipe tensioner, it provides extended capabilities for pipe size and water depth lay and recovery, the company said.
• The Coast Guard medevac’d a man from a fishing vessel approximately 100 miles southeast of Freeport, Tx., after Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston received a report at 11:33 a.m. on Friday, April 28, reporting that a 34-year-old man aboard Wrapped Up, a 72-foot recreational fishing vessel, had suffered a severe hand injury.
On the recommendation of the duty flight surgeon, an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter was launched from Coast Guard Air Station Houston. The aircraft arrived on scene, hoisted the injured man aboard and transported him to Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center in Houston for treatment.
• The Coast Guard medevac’d an 86-year-old man from a cruise ship 50 miles off Galveston, Tx., on Saturday, May 6, after Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston received a medevac request from the cruise ship Carnival Dream stating an 86-year-old male passenger was reportedly “experiencing gastrointestinal issues and other side effects from ingesting a battery.”
Watch standers consulted with the duty flight surgeon, who recommended a medevac. A Coast Guard Air Station Houston MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew was launched to conduct the medevac.
The helicopter crew arrived on scene, hoisted the passenger, and transported him to the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston in stable condition.
• On May 18, the Coast Guard medevac’d a crewmember from Brandon Bordelon, an offshore supply vessel after the Sector New Orleans command center received a report at approximately 8 a.m. via VHF-FM channel 16 from the vessel that a crew member had injured his leg.
Coast Guard Station Venice Response Boat-Medium 45615 was dispatched to the site, about 11 miles southeast of Southwest Pass, La.
The injured man was embarked and transported to awaiting emergency medical services personnel at Coast Guard Station Venice. Once there, EMS transported him to Ochsner Medical Center Westbank Campus in Gretna, La., for treatment.
• Three men were rescued after their boat sank near an oil platform off the Texas coast in the early morning hours of Sunday, May 21.
The Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston received a report from the Matagorda County Sheriff’s Office at 3 a.m. local time of a vessel in distress near Freeport. An urgent marine information broadcast was sent out and a 45-foot Response Boat–Medium (RBM) was dispatched from Coast Guard Station Freeport crew, while an HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft was diverted to assist.
The aircraft located the survivors in the water and relayed their exact position to the crew of the RBM. Once the boat crew arrived on scene, the three men were taken aboard and brought to Surfside Marina. All boaters were reportedly in stable condition.
Headquartered in New Orleans, District 8 – called the ‘Heartland’ District– is one of the Coast Guard’s nine operational Districts and is responsible for all Coast Guard activities in 25 states from Texas northward to the Canadian border.