Articles Posted in Vessel Collisions

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Duwamish-SpillThe US Coast Guard and Washington Department of Ecology responded to a fuel spill in Seattle on the West Waterway of the Duwamish River after a tug and barge collided. The incident occurred at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday morning.

Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound, Ecology and the National Response Center were notified of the spill by the operator of Island Tug and Barge at 9:12 a.m. The hull of the tug was breached in the collision, and damage was sustained to one of the diesel fuel tanks.

While the tank’s capacity is 9,000 gallons, the tug was reportedly carrying only 1,200 gallons of fuel at the time of the incident. Larry Altose of the Ecology Department said, “We’ll treat response as if all spilled, until we learn differently.”

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Northern Idaho authorities have confirmed that the bodies of the 3 persons missing following the Saturday night boat collision have been recovered.

The Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement late Wednesday that a dive team pulled the bodies from Lake Coeur d’Alene shortly after the crash.

Officials identified the dead as 34-year-old Justin M. Luhr of Medical Lake, Spokane County, 21-year-old Justin T. Honken of Post Falls, Idaho, and 21-year-old Caitlin A. Breeze of Spokane.

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On January 20, 55-foot F/V ECLIPSE collided with the Yaquina Bay south jetty. Three crewmen were aboard the vessel at the time of the accident. One crewman was lifted from the vessel by a Coast Guard helicopter and another crewman reached shore by climbing onto the jetty and then making his way to shore. The captain of the vessel stayed aboard and was able to dewater with the assistance of the Coast Guard. The cause of the accident is unknown at this time. Initial reports did not identify any injuries to the crew of the ECLIPSE.

Just a day later, January 21, 62-foot F/V JOE MARIE ran aground on the Chetco Jetty near Brookings, Oregon. Four crewmen were aboard the vessel at the time of the accident and all are reported safe after being rescued from the vessel by a Coast Guard Motor life boat.
The Coast Guard has both incidents under investigation and reminds all mariners that a marine band radio is an important tool to utilize in the event of emergency situation. A mayday message issued through VHF-FM Channel 16 can be heard by other mariners in the area who may be able to provide valuable assistance.

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A 620-foot cargo ship has collided with a 51-foot aluminum hulled fishing vessel off the coast of Massachusetts. The three crewmen on gillnet boat MICHAEL BRANDON were rescued by the Coast Guard and the vessel towed back to Scituate. The fishing vessel suffered extensive damage and later sank at the pier. The MICHAEL BRANDON was reportedly fishing near the shipping lanes when the collision occurred. The cargo ship involved in the collision, West Bay, was sailing for New Orleans with a load of salt. It has been ordered to return to Boston for purposes of a Coast Guard casualty investigation into the cause of the sinking.

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The tow boat BEAR CAT has been involved in a collision with a small pleasure craft on the Tennessee River. Only one of three persons aboard the small craft survived the accident. Early reports about the June 19, 2010 accident indicate that neither the tow boat nor the small boat was aware of the impending collision. The cause of the accident and why lookouts aboard the tug failed to sound a warning is under investigation by the Coast Guard. The BEAR CAT is owned by Serodino Inc. of Chattanooga.

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Two Seiners involved in the derby style Sitka Sac Roe Herring Fishery collided. Alaska State Troopers report that the F/V CONFIDENCE and F/V SHADY LADY collided on March 24, 2010. Substantial damage was reportedly suffered by the SHADY LADY. No serious injuries were reported in the collision and the cause of the accident is under investigation by the Coast Guard.

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The 70-foot tugboat, Gentry B, has collided with a bridge on the Ohio River. The cause of why the tugboat, which was pushing three loaded grain barges, collided with the bridge is under investigation by the Coast Guard. One crewman was reported injured in the accident. The Day Park Bridge was briefly shut down as a result of the accident. Inspectors and accident investigators form the Coast Guard and Kentucy Department of Transportation have since reopened the bridge to automobile traffic.

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A 33-foot-long Coast Guard vessel crashed into a 24-foot recreational vessel killing an 8-year-old child and seriously injuring five others. The accident happened in San Diego Bay during the annual Parade of Lights. Weather conditions were fair and clear, and the cause of the accident is under investigation. The Coast Guard vessel was reportedly responding to a grounded vessel.

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The Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit in Port Arthur, TX has reported a collision between two towing vessels on August 11, 2009. Both towing vessels, the CAROLINE and the MISS STACIE were pushing barges at mile marker 312 on the Intracoastal Waterway when the collision occurred.

According to the Coast Guard, after the collision, the CAROLINE began taking on water. A good Samaritan towing vessel, the REDEEMER was nearby when the collision happened and rescued the five crewmembers on board the CAROLINE. Once the crewmembers were rescued, the REDEEMER assisted with the CAROLINE’S five barges.

The Intracoastal Waterway was closed as a result of the collision between mile marker 310 to 315 and protective booming was placed around the CAROLINE which was partially submerged. Initial reports indicated a small oil sheen. A unified command consisting of the Coast Guard, Canal Barge Company, and Texas General Land Office is developing and evaluating salvage plans for the CAROLINE.

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Captain John Joseph Cota was sentenced to ten months in federal prison after he caused the Cosco Busan, a 900-ft container ship to collide with the San Francisco Bay Bridge. This collision discharged approximately 53,000 gallons of oil into San Francisco Bay, killing 2,400 birds of about 50 species, temporarily closing a fishery, and delaying the start of the crab-fishing season. According to prosecutors, Cota was “guilty of far more than a mere slip-up or an otherwise innocuous mistake that yielded unforeseeably grave damage. Rather, he made a series of intentional and negligent acts and omissions…”

Cota’s first mistake was departing in extreme fog. According to prosecutors the fog was so thick the bow of the vessel was not visible from the bridge. Regardless of the limited visibility, Cota continued on with his voyage. Furthermore, the vessel did not have a properly functioning radar. However, Cota did not notify the master or the United States Coast Guard that a piece of safety equipment was needed. Neither Cota nor any crewmember consulted the ship’s official navigations chart or take a single positional fix despite the lack of visibility. Finally, Cota did not disclose his medical conditions and prescription drug use on the required paperwork for the Coast Guard. Cota’s vessel eventually collided with the San Francisco Bridge after Cota was “confused regarding the operation of the electronic chart system upon which he chose to rely including the meaning of two red triangles that marked buoys marking the tower of the bridge that he eventually hit.”

The damage to the bridge, vessel and the economic impact to individuals was tens of millions of dollars. The clean-up cost for the bay exceeded $70 million. Numerous Brown Pelicans and Marbled Murrelets, two birds currently on the endangered species, were also killed because of Cota’s negligence. U.S. Attorney Joseph P. Russoniello hopes the court’s sentence of Cota will serve as “a deterrent to shipping companies and mariners who think violating the environmental laws that protect the waterways will go undetected or unpunished.”