Maritime Casualty News, February 2019

Three injured in pump accident on NY barge

Three people were injured after a mechanical malfunction aboard a barge working in New York’s Fire Island Inlet, the Coast Guard said.

Coast Guard personnel medically evacuated two crewmembers after the suspected pump system failure on the barge Reggie that occurred at about 1700 on Feb. 11. The two mariners were transferred by boat to Coast Guard Station Fire Island, where paramedics were waiting to take them to a West Islip hospital.

A third crewmember injured in the incident was taken to the same hospital by the barge’s safety officer.

The Coast Guard reported that the mariners suffered lacerations and a head injury. The cause of the incident is under investigation.

Matson ship leaks fuel at Port of Oakland

A U.S.-flagged containership leaked heavy diesel fuel from a hull fracture while moored at the Port of Oakland.

According to the Coast Guard, crew aboard the 713-foot Matsonia noticed a sheen alongside the ship while docked at the Matson terminal at about 0800 on Feb. 21. Crew activated a vessel response plan and placed boom around the ship to contain the fuel.

“Divers contracted to investigate the sheen discovered a fracture in the hull of the ship approximately 15 feet below the waterline adjacent to the starboard fuel tank,” the Coast Guard said.

Ship personnel moved fuel to other tanks to prevent additional leakage. The cause of the fracture is under investigation, which will explore when and how the breach occurred. It is unclear how much fuel escaped from the ship.

A Matson spokesman did not respond to a request for comment on the incident.

NJ ferry grounds with 400 passengers aboard

Four hundred people were aboard a ferry that ran aground near Atlantic Highlands, N.J., during a recent morning commute.

The 140-foot ferry, which the Coast Guard did not name, grounded at about 0715 on Feb. 11. The vessel hit bottom roughly 200 feet from the pier in Atlantic Highlands.

After proceeding to shore, all 400 passengers disembarked at the pier without incident. No one was injured and no pollution was reported.

The Coast Guard is investigating the case and has not determined the cause.

Casualty flashback: February 1963

Thirty-nine mariners died when the converted T-2 tanker Marine Sulphur Queen sank early on the morning of Feb. 4, 1963 near the Straits of Florida.

The cause of the sinking has never been determined, which has contributed to the Bermuda Triangle mystery. A 19-day search yielded some debris but no other signs of the ship.

Marine Sulphur Queen departed Beaumont, Texas, for Norfolk, Va., on Feb. 2 with more than 15,000 tons of molten sulfur. The ship disappeared sometime after 0130 while within or near the Straits of Florida when it made its final radio report.

The Coast Guard determined several possible scenarios for the sinking, including an explosion in the cargo tanks, a hull failure that split the ship in two, capsizing or a steam explosion.

The service’s investigators also noted key deficiencies with Marine Sulphur Queen. Onboard fires were apparently common, and the ship reportedly came and went from ports while still smoldering. Sulfur also leaked from internal tanks and affected some internal components.

Several other T-2 ships suffered major hull fractures amidships, lending credence to the theory that the ship split apart while underway.

By Professional Mariner Staff