Maritime Casualty News, August 2018

Fuel barge runs ‘soft aground’ in Coney Island Channel

The Coast Guard is investigating a grounding in the Coney Island Channel involving a loaded fuel barge that hit bottom near Brighton Beach.

The tugboat Eastern Dawn was pushing the barge Port Chester when it became stuck near Coney Island Channel Buoy 3 at about 0900 on Aug. 22. The barge had 14,000 barrels of fuel on board at the time. No pollution was reported.

“Pollution response teams and investigation officials from Coast Guard Sector New York were also on scene to assess the incident and confirmed no fuel entered the water,” the Coast Guard said in a statement.

Port Chester refloated at 1430 with the rising tide. It continued to its destination in Queens without issue, where both vessels faced inspection. Nobody was hurt in the ordeal and the cause has not been released.

Barge capsizes near South Carolina beach

An unmanned construction barge owned by Great Lakes Dredge & Dock capsized and partially sank near Surfside Beach, S.C., although authorities determined there was no pollution.

The Coast Guard deployed a 29-foot response boat and an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter to assess the barge’s condition and search for potential pollution. The incident occurred Aug. 15 near Surfside Beach, a community located about 100 miles northeast of Charleston.

Great Lakes Dredge & Dock worked with the Coast Guard and other authorities to identify potential hazards, the agency said in a news release. Salvage operations were slated to begin shortly after the incident.

The Coast Guard is investigating the incident but has not determined the cause.

Water taxi hits moored sailboat in Boston Harbor

A water taxi carrying seven passengers hit a sailboat tied to a mooring ball in Boston Harbor, injuring at least one person.

The incident happened near Long Wharf at about 1700 on Aug. 16. The unnamed water taxi had eight people on board, including the operator, when it hit the vessel.

“One passenger sustained a minor injury to his nose and was treated at the scene,” the Coast Guard said in a news release. “The sailboat had three people on board, none of which were injured.”

The Coast Guard joined state and local officials responding to the incident. The cause remains under investigation.

Casualty flashback: August 1921

Dozens of people aboard the steamship Alaska died after the vessel struck a reef south of Eureka, Calif., during foggy conditions.

Many passengers and crew who survived the incident were pulled from the water by another nearby ship, the Vancouver, B.C.-based steamer Anyox, according to newspaper accounts at the time.

Alaska hit Blunt’s Reef, located roughly 40 miles south of Eureka, multiple times at about 2100 on Aug. 6, 1921. Its crew sent frantic distress messages, which alerted Anyox and other nearby vessels.

“At 9:30 p.m., the Anyox received the Alaska’s final message,” the Sausalito News reported at the time. “‘We are sinking at the head.’”

One or more boilers exploded before the ship sank, reportedly covering some survivors in oil. It also destroyed the vessel amidships, according to the Sausalito News.

“The Alaska’s end came so quickly that the vessel’s lifeboats could not be got overside,” the paper reported.

Official accounts suggest 48 of the 214 people on board Alaska died in the incident. The official cause of the wreck could not be determined.

By Professional Mariner Staff