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March 2012 Archives

T/V PATRICE MCALLISTER Catches Fire in Lake Ontario, Canada; Chief Engineer Dies

According to USCG vessel records, T/V PATRICE MCALLISTER is a U.S.-flagged, 105-foot tugboat out of Wilmington, Delaware. According to reports, at around 2:00 a.m. on March 27, she caught fire on Lake Ontario about seven miles south of Prince Edward Point, Canada, with a crew of six. She had been en route through the Great Lakes system to New York from Ohio.

RENA Captain Said to Have Chosen Short Cut Prior to Grounding

As we reported in our January 10, blog, Greek-owned container ship RENA went aground of Astrolabe Reef in New Zealand waters last October, and then split in half and partially sunk during a January storm this year, resulting in what New Zealand officials have referred to as the worst environmental disaster ever in New Zealand. Beaches were fouled with fuel oil, and hundreds of sea birds perished, while lumber and containers of goods washed to shore. Cost of the clean-up has been estimated at NZ$130 million.

Costa Allegra to Remain Out of Service; Passenger Compensation Announced

After a fire in the electric generator room took out electric power to Costa Crociere's COSTA ALLEGRA on February 27, passengers spent three days on board without many basic comforts and amenities while the cruise ship was towed to Port Victoria on Mahe Island in the Seychelles. Once in port, the passengers were given a choice to either stay at various Seychelles resorts for Costa Crociere-paid one- or two-week vacation, or for Costa Crociere to fly directly them back to their homes. Most passengers chose to continue their vacations in the Seychelles.

Magnolia Dry Dock Explosion Burns Two Men Near Fishermen's Terminal, Seattle

On Sunday, March 11, two men, aged 59 and 33, were welding on a 46-foot dredging boat off Commodore Way, which is north of Fishermen's Terminal on Magnolia and across the canal from Ballard, when two nearby 80-gallon gas tanks apparently caught a spark and exploded. The tanks each contained about three to six inches of fuel, according to other workers in the area. One tank flew over a fence and landed near the railroad tracks, while the other tank was obliterated by its explosion.

Man Overboard Off Sand Point, Alaska-based F/V GLACIER SPIRIT

Friday, March 9, at 10:26 a.m., the Alaska Department of Fish and Game contacted the Coast Guard for assistance searching for a crewman who had gone overboard from 47-foot F/V GLACIER SPIRIT near Sand Point, Alaska. The Coast Guard launched a helicopter and an airplane to search by air for the missing man.

Two Fishermen Missing after Vessel Capsizes near Gold Beach, Oregon

At 5:10 p.m. on Friday, March 9, the local sheriff's office received a report that a 21-foot fishing boat had capsized near the north jetty at Gold Beach, Oregon. According to reports, witnesses saw a man in the water near the rocks at the north jetty, and thought a man may have been trapped under the vessel. The Coast Guard deployed a helicopter, a response boat, and two motor lifeboats to the area to search the area, and Curry County searchers scoured the shoreline. Approximately 122 miles were covered before the search was ended at 1:39 a.m. on Saturday.

F/V CHEVELLE Grounded and Sank at Jetty Near Newport, Oregon

The Coast Guard was notified at about 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 10, that Newport-based F/V CHEVELLE had allided with the south side of the north jetty at the mouth of Yaquina River near Newport, Oregon, and that the crew was stranded. The weather was too rough for a sea rescue, so the four crewmembers were lifted by helicopter and set on the jetty, after which they were able to proceed to shore in good condition.

F/V LADY CECELIA of Warrenton, Oregon, Sinks - All Four Men Missing

At 3:37 a.m. March 10, the Coast Guard near Astoria, Oregon, received an EPIRB from F/V LADY CECELIA, which led to the discovery of a field of debris and an inflated, intact but empty life raft approximately 17 miles west of Leadbetter Point. The life raft and EPIRB are believed to have both activated automatically on contact with water, as opposed to being activated manually by crew. The Coast Guard has no record of a radio distress call from LADY CECELIA, and the vessel is said to have carried survival suits, so it's thought that whatever happened, happened before the men had much time to react.

Seattle Fisherman Andrew Fotu Dies In Accident On Fishing Company of Alaska-owned F/V ALASKA JURIS

On March 1, 2012, a Seattle fisherman, Andrew Fotu, died when he was working on ALASKA JURIS, a fish trawler. The newspapers and Coast Guard press release reported that Mr. Fotu died when a "cable snapped and struck him in the head." Our investigation has determined that a towing cable did not snap - meaning it did not break or separate. Rather, it appears that the cable was made taut or pulled tight, which caused the cable to rise up and strike Mr. Fotu. The employer should not operate a winch or run the hydraulics when crew are standing near a line. It seems that FCA could be deemed liable by a jury in this case.

F/V CYCLONE Sinks Off Kodiak, Alaska

Early the morning of March 2, the crew of F/V CYCLONE sent out a call for help from about twenty miles southeast of Kodiak, Alaska, reporting that CYCLONE was sinking. The Coast Guard immediately relayed an urgent marine broadcast notice for other vessels in the area to assist CYCLONE. Weather conditions at that time included winds of 40mph with 20-foot seas.

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