Articles Posted in Vessel Sinkings

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Yaquina-Bay-Lighthouse-300x175The U.S. Coast Guard has announced that it will formally investigate the sinking of the F/V MARY B II, which capsized near Newport, Oregon along the Yaquina Bay bar on January 8th. Three men died as the result of the sinking of the 42-foot vessel. It was reported that prior to the accident, the crew called for a Coast Guard escort due to heavy weather and 14 to 16 f00t waves. Tragically, before the escort reached the vessel, it capsized.

Rear Admiral David Throop has authorized the investigation. He is the Commander of the Thirteenth Coast Guard District which is headquartered in Seattle, Washington. Rear Admiral Throop is responsible for all Coast Guard operations throughout the Pacific Northwest including protection of life and property, enforcement of federal laws and treaties, preservation of living marine resources, and promotion of national security. The Thirteenth District is made up of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana, and includes over 4,400 miles of coastline.

Commander Karen Denny, who has over 18 years of experience investigating marine casualties with the Marine Safety Unit Portland, will lead the investigation. Commander Denny will then issue a report which will detail collected evidence, conclusions, and safety recommendations that could help prevent future accidents of this kind.

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Mary-B-IIIt is with great sadness that we report the death of three crew members from the MARY B II. The vessel was returning from crabbing late in the evening on Tuesday, January 8, 2019. The U.S. Coast Guard reported that the 42-foot vessel overturned as it crossed Yaquina Bay Bar in Newport, Oregon, a difficult crossing well known in the fishing industry.

A week-long winter storm had battered the bar with reported waves on Tuesday of 14 to 16 feet. Before it capsized, the MARY B II had requested a Coast Guard escort as it crossed the bar. The 52-foot Motor Life Boat Victory was in the area when two crew members of the MARY B II were washed overboard and the vessel subsequently capsized.

An additional Coast Guard vessel was called to the scene, as well as a Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter. James Lacey, 48, from New Jersey was extracted by helicopter and flown to Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Joshua Porter, 50, of Toledo, Oregon, washed up on the beach and was treated by emergency medical services; he was taken to Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital and pronounced dead.

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Nordic-Viking-Sinks-300x254The U.S. Coast Guard has taken the lead in the cleanup of over 700 gallons of marine diesel fuel and 50 gallons of gasoline that spilled after the sinking of the F/V NORDIC VIKING. The 71-foot vessel was in Seward Harbor, Alaska at the time of the incident. The cause has yet to be determined.

The Coast Guard will be initially using funds from the Oil Spill Liability and Trust Fund to pay for the cleanup, but the responsible party will be liable for expenses associated with containment, cleanup, and damages. Alaska Chadux, a non-profit organization founded in 1993 after the Exxon Valdez oil spill, has been contracted in the cleanup efforts, and Global Diving and Salvage has been contracted to salvage the 71-foot fishing vessel.

Alaska Chadux had to deploy a second containment boom and absorption pads around the sunken vessel after the first boon was pulled down as the vessel sunk further beneath the water. Global Diving and Salvage has also plugged all fuel vents to prevent any additional fuel leakage.

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Colorado-River-NeedlesA Labor Day weekend river cruise turned deadly after two boats collided on Saturday evening. Authorities are still investigating the cause of Saturday’s head-on collision that sunk both vessels and left all 16 passengers in the water. It was reported that two boats were involved, one carrying 10 people and the other carrying 6 passengers. The incident happened just north of Lake Havasu, on a stretch of the Colorado River located between Needles, California and Topock, Arizona.

Good Samaritans arrived at the scene before emergency officials and pulled many of the victims from the water; but in the current, several passengers were swept downriver. According to Mohave County Sheriff Doug Shuster, none of the passengers were wearing life jackets. While life jackets are not required by law, they are strongly recommended by authorities.

According to Eric Sherwin, a spokesperson for the San Bernardino County Fire Department, emergency rescue personnel arrived approximately 45 minutes after the initial call for assistance. Nine people were transported by ambulance to area hospitals while two critically injured victims were airlifted by helicopter to a Las Vegas hospital.

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Yok-FenderWhen the F/V KRISTI lost power on July 14th shortly after midnight, no one could have imagined the disaster that was about to take place as the vessel drifted near Clark’s Point, a Bristol Bay village just outside of Dillingham. As the tide came in, it brought the vessel along toward shore, traveling at approximately 5 knots or 500 feet per minute.

Owner and skipper Jan Medhaug along with deckhand Kyle Brajakowski were working to restore engine power to the 32-foot salmon gillnetter while Kayla Breeden, Jan’s wife, placed a buoy at the stern. Breeden reported that she could see that they were headed straight for two large docked vessels, the 330-foot F/V GORDON JENSEN and the 400-foot cargo ship SOHOH.

With no engine power to maneuver the vessel, the tide pushed and wedged the F/V KRISTI into a Yokohama fender that was positioned between the two large vessels. A “fender” is a large rubber cylinder filled with air and wrapped in tires, that acts as a buffer to protect large vessels docked close together. The F/V KRISTI was nearly the same size as the fender, and thus the small aluminum vessel began violently bouncing between the two large steel-hulled ships. The smaller vessel twisted and took on water, then sunk seconds after the last crewmember was lifted from the vessel by the crew on the GORDON JENSEN in a rescue basket. See the astonishing video of the sinking here.

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Bristol-Bay-300x199It is with great sadness that we report that the search for missing crewmember John Phillips, 59, of Juneau, Alaska, has been suspended. Phillips was reported missing after the F/V PACIFIC KNIGHT capsized and sank near Clark’s Point in Bristol Bay on Wednesday, July 25th.

Two other crewmembers were rescued from the water by good Samaritan vessel Amanda C, then transferred to Alaska State Troopers. Authorities continue to search for the missing crewmember and investigate the cause of the accident. It is unknown if Phillips was wearing a PFD.

“Ending a search is never easy, especially when working alongside so many people dedicated to finding the missing person,” said Coast Guard Lt. Stephan Nolan, the District 17 command duty officer, in a press release. “Our condolences go out to this man’s family and friends during this time of hardship.”

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Duck-300x225In what may be the greatest loss of life in the history of the Ride the Ducks tourism program, 17 people, including five children, were killed when a duck boat sank on Table Rock Lake in Branson, Missouri on Thursday, July 19th. The duck boat was carrying 29 tourists and two crewmembers when it flipped over during a severe storm. Survivors were taken to Cox Medical Center in Branson, Missouri for treatment.

Of the seventeen who died, more than half were members of the Coleman family of Indianapolis, Indiana. Tia Coleman survived the accident, but tragically lost her three children, husband, and five other family members.

History and Ownership

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Coast-Guard-MH-60-JayhawkThanks to the swift efforts of the U.S. Coast Guard and good Samaritan F/V Pacific Pearl, three fishermen in Sitka Sound were rescued this week after their vessel began taking on water.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Juneau received a distress call from the captain of the 33-foot F/V Leona at about 10:30pm. It was reported that the vessel was taking on water and bilge pumps were unable to keep up with the rate of flooding. Watchstanders urgently requested an Air Station Sitka Jayhawk MH-60 be dispatched to the scene.

An emergency dewatering pump was lowered onto the vessel, but the F/V Leona was taking on water too rapidly; the pump could not keep up. The three crewmembers were forced to abandon ship as the vessel began sinking into Sitka Sound. The good Samaritan F/V Pacific Pearl was able to take the three crewmembers aboard then transport them to Sitka.

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MYSTIC_LADYThe U.S. Coast Guard rescued five adults and two children after the 58-foot F/V Mystic Lady sunk near Thorne Bay, Alaska.

Shortly after 4am on Friday, June 29th, watchstanders at the Station Ketchikan received a 406-emergency position indication radio beacon alert in addition to a mayday broadcast via VHF-FM Channel 16, that the vessel had hit a rock and was quickly taking on water. A 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew was launched and on their way to the scene by 4:34. The rescue crew traveled approximately 40 miles and reached the mariners by 5:30am. They arrived to find the F/V Mystic Lady underwater and 7 people in an inflatable life raft waving their arms.

“We were the first to arrive on scene, and I’m thankful that we were able to assist these people as quickly as we could,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Jacob Fischer, the small boat coxswain during the case. “With the inflatable life raft that the survivors used, they increased their own chances of survival exponentially until we were able to be on scene and assist.”

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Sunnfjord1280x960-300x225Five fishermen were rescued by the US Coast Guard after their vessel began taking on water west of Cape Alava, Washington.

Watchstanders were alerted to the situation on Wednesday, January 31st at 1:15 p.m. The 87-foot F/V Sunnfjord was taking on water, however, dewatering pumps were unable to keep up with the rising water. Good Samaritan vessels Island Voyager and Equinox responded to the distress call in addition to Coast Guard cutters Cuttyhunk and Swordfish. An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station/Sector Field Office Port Angeles, a Motor Life Boat from Station Quillayute River, and a Motor Life Boat from Station Neah Bay were also part of the response team. Watch the video of this heroic rescue.

As the water rose in the engine room, fishermen donned survival suits and life jackets. The helicopter crew initially planned to pick up and deliverer another dewatering pump, but as the situation grew dire, they refueled at Neah Bay then traveled directly to the F/V Sunnfjord.