Coast Guard honors Texas pilot for actions to avoid casualty

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The following is the text of a news release from Marketwired:

(CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas) — The U.S. Coast Guard presented one of its highest honors, the Meritorious Public Service Award, to Aransas-Corpus Christi Pilot Capt. Bob Lippold for his "quick and decisive actions" in preventing a serious marine casualty after his ship lost power Jan. 5 on the Corpus Christi Ship Channel.

"Capt. Lippold's actions are in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Coast Guard," said USCG Deputy Captain of the Port Michael T. Cunningham in a special ceremony during the regular monthly meeting of the Port of Corpus Christi Commissioners.

At approximately 1800 hours Jan. 5, the veteran pilot boarded AP Revelin at cargo dock No. 9. The Marshall Islands-flagged bulk carrier was built in 2016, measures 590 feet by 106 feet and has a deadweight of 38,700 tons. The ship was well underway outbound and passing the Port Aransas ferry terminals when it suddenly lost power approaching the turn where the channel intersects the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. A fuel injector had failed, causing a loss of power and crippling the ship.

Rapidly losing speed and steerage, Lippold quickly devised a plan to use the ship's anchors and water currents to steer AP Revelin toward the south side of the channel before the vessel reached the rock jetties. The veteran pilot also made use of a nearby pilot boat to swing the bow of the vessel toward the bank so that it aligned evenly with the stern, essentially docking the vessel in the entry of the ship channel.

"Capt. Lippold's actions prevented damage to the ship and nearby structures as well as avoided a possible pollution incident resulting in a closure of the ship channel for several days," said Cunningham. "He directly contributed to the safe anchoring of the AP Revelin at a safe location away from passing ships and shoreline property."

"Capt. Bob Lippold exemplifies the caliber of harbor pilots who make up the Aransas-Corpus Christi Pilots," said Capt. Jay Rivera, presiding officer.

By Professional Mariner Staff