Mariner dies aboard Military Sealift Command ship near Bahrain


The U.S. Navy is investigating a “workplace incident” that resulted in an American mariner dying aboard a Military Sealift Command (MSC) ship operating in the Arabian Sea.

Brian Francis Crowe, 56, an AB on the dry cargo ship USNS Cesar Chavez (T-AKE-14), died while working on deck. The incident occurred July 26 at about 1000 local time, according to Wayne Perry, an MSC spokesman.

“The ship was underway and there was a mishap, and he ended up dying and that is being investigated,” Perry told Professional Mariner. Cesar Chavez was operating near Bahrain at the time, where the Navy’s 5th Fleet is located.

A spokesman for the 5th Fleet referred questions about the incident back to the MSC, a branch of the Navy. Perry declined to discuss specifics about the incident due to the ongoing investigation.

Crowe, from Holiday Island, Ark., was a veteran mariner in the MSC fleet, with more than 11 years working for the military transportation provider. Cesar Chavez is a Lewis and Clark-class dry cargo ship in the MSC’s Naval Fleet Auxiliary Force. Lewis and Clark-class ships provide logistics support and supplies such as ammunition to American warships. The vessels also have the capacity to offload fuel.

Officials have not specified exactly where Cesar Chavez was at the time of the incident involving Crowe, or what mission the ship was supporting.

“In this case, I do not believe they were far (offshore),” Perry said, noting that Crowe’s body was immediately disembarked from the ship after the incident. It is not clear if he was pronounced dead aboard Cesar Chavez or at a shoreside medical facility.

The MSC is conducting the Navy’s investigation into the incident. However, Perry said the service has already shared details about the situation internally to prevent similar injuries. Once the inquiry has been completed, which could take weeks or months, he expects details will be released to share lessons learned from the tragedy.

Crowe was the second mariner to die aboard an MSC ship within a month. On June 27, boatswain’s mate Martin Anthony, 51, died after falling 25 feet while working aloft on the dry cargo ship USNS William McLean (T-AKE-12). The ship was at Detyens Shipyard in Charleston, S.C., undergoing routine maintenance, MSC spokeswoman LaShawn Sykes said.

The local coroner determined that Anthony, a Guyana native and a civil service mariner with the MSC since late 2015, died from blunt force trauma to the head. That case also remains under investigation by the MSC, and few additional details were available.

By Professional Mariner Staff