Maritime Casualty News, August 2015

Coast Guard searches for missing crewmember

The U.S. Coast Guard conducted a search this month for a crewmember reported missing from the Marshall Islands-flagged freighter Ibrahim Dede.

Crew aboard the 600-foot vessel last saw the missing crewman on board after the ship left Bayonne, N.J., according to a news release. He was reported missing at about 1630 on Aug. 11, the release said.

The Coast Guard responded with a 45-foot response boat, MH-60 helicopter and C-130 Hercules to search for the missing crewman. The search area was between Bayonne and Ocean City, Md., the release said.

Rescue crews suspended the search on Aug. 12.

Ibrahim Dede continued sailing to Norfolk International Terminal and remained there for at least a day after the accident.

NTSB: Failure to maintain lookout caused OSV, fishing boat collision

National Transportation Safety Board investigators say a 2014 collision between an offshore supply vessel (OSV) and a fishing boat was caused by failure of both vessels to maintain proper lookout.

The OSV Gloria May struck the fishing boat Capt Le at about 2040 on Aug. 24, 2014, in the Gulf of Mexico roughly 16 miles south-southeast of Pascagoula, Miss. The fishing boat sank, and its three-person crew escaped into a life raft and were rescued by Gloria May, according to the NTSB report.

Shortly before the collision, the crewmember at the controls of the OSV noticed the shrimper at least 2 nm ahead but believed the vessel was traveling away from his vessel. He then moved to the chart table and began filling out safety forms, the report said.

“The way the deck lights appeared to him, he believed the fishing vessel was headed away from him and did not pose a threat of collision. He did not use the radar to plot the contact’s position or to determine the risk of collision,” the report said.

Sometime afterward, the shrimper changed course to check on a net. Neither saw the other vessel coming until it was too late.

Gloria May was traveling at about 11.5 knots when it struck the port side of Capt Le, which was trawling for shrimp. The vessel sank a few hours after the incident, which caused about $50,000 damage to the OSV. The fishing boat was valued at about $175,000.

Roughly 10,000 gallons of fuel oil and 200 gallons of lube oil were on board the fishing vessel. About 5,500 gallons of fuel-water mixture was later recovered.

Passengers hurt when ferry makes hard landing

At least 10 people were hurt when a passenger ferry slammed into a pier in Lower Manhattan while preparing to dock. At least two passengers were hospitalized, the New York Daily News reported.

The East River Ferry Co. runs regular ferry service between Manhattan and other New York City boroughs. The accident occurred early in the evening on Aug. 12. It’s not clear how many people were on board at the time.

At least one passenger on board the ferry suggested the vessel had mechanical trouble just before the hard landing, the newspaper reported. The man described the impact as a hard jolt.

Casualty flashback: August 1950

SS Mary Luckenbach was outbound from San Francisco and had just cleared the Golden Gate Bridge when a crewman spotted the bow wave of an oncoming vessel through a thick fog. Attempts to steer the fully loaded freighter “hard right” were not enough to avoid a collision.

At about 1655 on Aug. 25, 1950, Mary Luckenbach and the hospital ship USS Benevolence collided nearly head-on, according to a Coast Guard accident report released about six months after the incident. Benevolence sank soon after the collision, and 23 people died. Another 505 people were rescued.

“The bluff of the Mary Luckenbach’s port bow (struck) the Benevolence at frame 50, port side, high on the fo’c’sle head, with terrific impact,” investigators wrote in the accident report. “Both vessels heeled to starboard after the impact.”

Weather at the time was foggy with visibility between 200 and 600 feet, and investigators found both vessels were traveling too fast for the conditions. Benevolence was sailing at 15 knots at impact, while Mary Luckenbach was sailing at 12 knots, the report said.

The impact opened a 50-foot-long gash in Benevolence’s hull, allowing seawater to rush into the 520-foot vessel. The ship sank about 25 minutes after impact.

As the vessel started sinking, the rapid list to port prevented the vessel from releasing all of its lifeboats.

Investigators cited improper training on board Benevolence before the accident, including the failure to conduct fire, collision and abandon ship drills. The captain’s failure to immediately order passengers to “abandon ship” delayed the launching of lifeboats, the report said.

Officials determined that crew aboard Mary Luckenbach did not know how to make routine radar adjustments, prompting the master to stop using the radar system roughly 30 minutes before the accident.

By Professional Mariner Staff