The following is the text of a press release issued by the U.S. Coast Guard:
(HOUSTON) — The Coast Guard assisted a tug boat towing a 165-foot deck barge that was taking on water approximately 20 miles south of San Luis Pass, Monday.
Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston received a call at approximately 6 a.m. from a crewmember aboard the Pops, a 70-foot tug boat, stating that the vessel was dead in the water, and taking on water in its stern void space. The tug was transiting from Brownsville to Pascagoula, Miss., when it initially started taking on water. Watchstanders used the Rescue 21 System for voice communication to obtain the correct coordinates of the vessel.
A Coast Guard Air Station Houston MH-65C Dolphin helicopter and crew was launched to deliver dewatering equipment to the crew of the tug. Prior to the Dolphin crew arriving on scene, the crew of the Pops was able to restore power to its engines. The Dolphin crew was unable to determine the source of the leak, and radioed for additional support from Sector Houston-Galveston. The Coast Guard Cutter Manta, an 87-foot patrol boat homeported in Freeport, was launched to the scene to assist.
The Manta arrived on scene with marine inspectors from Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Texas City, who determined that a gash between two deck plates in the stern void space caused the Pops to take on water. The crew of the Pops was able to successfully dewater the compartment using equipment already onboard.
The Pops is being escorted to a dock in Galveston where it will undergo temporary repairs. Following repair the Pops and crew will transit to Morgan City, La., via the Intracoastal Waterway, where the vessel will be put into dry dock.
“The Rescue 21 System is an effective tool in determining a more precise location of a vessel in distress,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Joseph Medina, a Sector Houston-Galveston operations specialist. “Rescue 21 assists us in launching Coast Guard assets in the proper direction for a rapid and effective response,” he said.