The U.S. Coast Guard has released the results of the investigation into the crane accident that took the life of Chief Warrant Officer Michael Kozloski on January 31st, 2019. The accident occurred in the Coast Guard buoy yard in Homer, Alaska. The 35-year-old accident victim from Mahopac, New York, was a crew member aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Hickory. A 17-year veteran, he was working in the vessel buoy yard when a crane rolled over and struck him.
The investigation revealed that the direct cause of the accident was the improper operation of the shoreside crane. Investigators also found that inadequate crewmember training, a complacency of shoreside operations, and leadership deficiencies aboard the Cutter Hickory contributed to the accident.
The commanding officer of the Cutter Hickory has been temporarily relieved of duty, with “loss of confidence in the officer’s ability to perform his duties” as the official reason cited. The call was made by Rear Adm. Matthew Bell Jr., who is the commander of the 17th Coast Guard District. A formal review is pending.
“Command positions overseeing Coast Guard units, such as the Cutter Hickory, are among the most important and challenging assignments in our service,” said Bell. “Commanding officers are entrusted with tremendous authority and responsibility to ensure operational success, good order and discipline, and crew safety.”
Officer Kozloski left a wife and four children behind. The Alaska Training Room established a memorial fund for the family.
“We are continuing to review the results of the investigation, which identified causative factors that will help us prevent future incidents,” said Vice Adm. Fagan, commander of Coast Guard Pacific Area, who convened the major incident investigation. “The Coast Guard is committed to the professional operation of our units and the safety of our members and the American public.”