Maritime Casualty News, February 2015

Coast Guard rescues three injured mariners off Oregon

The U.S. Coast Guard rescued three mariners who were hurt during refueling operations on a cargo vessel off the Oregon coast, according to a news release.

Two mariners suffered what appeared to be chemical burns and a third had a broken leg. They were working on the 623-foot M/V Almasi, which is registered in Cypress. The vessel was roughly 70 miles from shore at the time of the incident in 19-foot seas and 35-mph winds, the Coast Guard said.

The injuries were reported at about 1130 on Feb. 5. An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Astoria met the ship at 1342. By that point the vessel was about 50 miles offshore.

“The Jayhawk crew … assessed the Almasi members' injuries, hoisted the three men and safely handed them over at 3:09 p.m. to emergency medical services,” the release said.

The sailors were taken to an Astoria, Ore., hospital for additional treatment. The long-term status of their injuries, including likelihood of full recovery, was not clear.

Crewman evacuated from Gulf vessel

A 43-year-old man who suffered a leg injury on a tanker in the Gulf of Mexico was rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard.

Coast Guard officials in Miami received the emergency call at about 1950 on Feb. 14 from crew aboard the 571-foot Cielo di Guangzhou, which was nearly 100 miles southwest of Tampa, Fla., according to a news release. It wasn’t clear how the man was hurt.

“A Coast Guard flight surgeon was notified and recommended the man be medevaced,” the Coast Guard said in the release.

The agency sent an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter to meet the vessel. Its crew hoisted the injured mariner from the Italy-flagged ship and brought him back to shore for treatment at a Tampa hospital.

Freighter refloated after grounding in Delaware Bay

A 470-foot reefer carrying fresh produce ran aground before dawn in Delaware Bay while en route to Philadelphia.

The Liberia-flagged M/V Santa Lucia reported the grounding at about 0400 on Jan. 27, according to a Coast Guard news release. The vessel was headed to the Big Stone Anchorage for a Coast Guard inspection when it became stuck.

It’s not clear what the vessel grounded on or whether it was operating within the appropriate channel. Nobody was hurt and there was no environmental damage.

The ship was refloated and moving under its own power at about 1500 on Jan. 27.

Casualty flashback: February 1983

The 605-foot bulk carrier S.S. Marine Electric left Norfolk, Va., on Feb. 10, 1983, with a load of coal bound for a Massachusetts port. Early in the voyage, the vessel encountered a strong winter storm that produced 25-foot waves and 55-mph winds.

The 39-year-old ship, owned by Marine Transport Lines, capsized and quickly sank roughly 30 miles of the Virginia coast. The 34 crewmembers were tossed into the ocean as the vessel went down and only three survived.

The saga that followed would change U.S. commercial shipping and the Coast Guard forever.

Despite passing an inspection prior to its final voyage, Coast Guard investigators determined that the sinking was likely caused by “wasted” metal hatch covers that allowed seawater to enter the cargo holds.

The accident led to significant changes in the maritime industry, in part thanks to advocacy from the surviving crewmen. Those changes included more stringent Coast Guard vessel investigations, which experts believe pulled dozens of aging and unseaworthy vessels from service.

New rules required vessels operating in areas of cold water to carry survival suits for their crew. The Coast Guard Rescue Swimmers program was created in response to the sinking. 

By Professional Mariner Staff