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Coast Guard response report Long Island Sound

Recent responses from around the nation

Recent responses from around the nation

Motoryacht sinking

Sheepshead Bay, N.Y.

The Coast Guard was investigating the circumstances surrounding an 89-foot motor yacht partially sunken in Sheepshead Bay after a night watchman aboard heard a loud bang early in the morning. Although there was no pollution reported initially, the motor yacht began to discharge an unknown amount of fuel as vents to the fuel tanks began to flood with the rising tide. The owner of the boat said there was about 1,200 gallons of diesel aboard. Sea Tow contained the area with a boom as a precautionary measure well before the fuel began to leak and is using absorbent pads to collect the fuel as it surfaces. The Coast Guard received the report of the partially submerged boat later that morning and immediately dispatched investigators to the pier where it was moored. Investigators found the boat’s stern completely submerged. The man who heard the bang said that the yacht began listing to the right shortly after he heard the sound and then slowly sank. Divers from the NYPD were standing by to survey the damage. Sea Tow is required to submit a salvage plan to the Coast Guard for review before attempting to recover the vessel. The cause of the incident was under investigation. (Jan. 27)

Injured during rescue

Nantucket, Mass.

Two Coast crewmembers suffered injuries while assisting a disabled fishing boat with three crewmembers aboard in rough weather and in danger of sinking about 45 nautical miles southeast of Nantucket, Mass. The two crewmembers aboard Coast Guard Cutter Campbell, which arrived on scene to assist the New Bedford, Mass.,-based fishing boat, were attempting to pass a towline to the 74-foot boat when they sustained non-life-threatening trauma. An HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Cape Cod hoisted the three crewmen from the fishing boat and the two injured Coast Guardsmen from the cutter. The helicopter crew was unable to safely hoist the fishing boat crew from their vessel, so they instructed the men, who were wearing survival suits, to enter the water, one at a time, upon the helicopter’s signal. A Coast Guard rescue swimmer entered the water from the helicopter and assisted each crewmember into the basket to be hoisted by the helicopter. The rescue swimmer repeated this process until all three were safely inside the helicopter. The rescue swimmer described the rescue as challenging because a big wave would come and the basket would drop 10 feet or so. The rescue helicopter was scheduled to land at Cape CodHospital where the injured were to be treated. The crew originally alerted StationBrantPoint that it had lost main propulsion and expressed concerns that the onboard pumps would not be able to keep up with the flooding. Weather conditions at the time were reported as 22-degree air temperature, 30- to 40-knot winds and 8- to 12-foot seas. After the crews were rescued, the fishing boat remained disabled and adrift. Due to gale-force winds and sea conditions, the fishing boat became less stable and was taking on water over the sides. An HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Cape Cod deployed a Self-Locating Datum Marker Buoy, which was attached to the fishing boat and which would transmit its location by satellite to the Coast Guard. Initially the Coast Guard cutter was going to tow the fishing boat towards Martha’s Vineyard. However, 12-to 14-foot seas and 30-knot winds prevented Campbell from safely taking the vessel in tow. The Coast Guard planned to work with the vessel’s owner to determine his intentions. The Coast Guard later confirmed that the owner abandoned the fishing boat after a salvage company deemed the scallop boat unsafe to tow. A private salvor hired by the owner arrived and boarded the vessel to assess the situation for towing. Upon going aboard, the salvor discovered the fishing vessel’s engine room was half-full of water, and the fish hold had several feet of water in it. The salvor determined the boat was unsafe to work aboard and too dangerous to tow. After two days of observing and assessing the condition of the boat, the Coast Guard reached the same conclusion. By afternoon, the owner stated he had no choice but to abandon the boat and presented the Coast Guard with a letter to this effect. Coast Guard Cutter Campbell took proactive steps to eliminate the significant hazard to navigation posed by this unlit vessel on the high seas. The fishing boat sank about 80 miles southeast of Nantucket in 250 to 330 feet of water. The boat was reported to have 1,000 gallons of fuel oil on board. The minor potential environmental impact posed by the vessel’s fuel was weighed against the potential for a life-threatening collision at sea with this substantial vessel, unlit, partially submerged, abandoned, and close to major shipping lanes. (Feb. 11)

Tough night at sea

Station Miami Beach, Fla.

Crewmembers from Coast Guard Station Miami Beach rescued three men and two women after their 20-foot pleasure boat capsized and they had spent nearly 15 hours in the water. The SectorMiamiCommandCenter received a call from the captain of a freighter, reporting several people were in the water about four miles off Government Cut. Crewmembers quickly arrived to find three people sitting on top of their boat and grasping onto the two other people in the water. Seas were 2 to 3 feet, water temperature was 69 degrees and only one person was reported to be wearing a personal flotation device. The five people reportedly capsized the evening before when they tried to take in their anchor and the boat took several waves over the bow near Fowey Rocks, about five miles south of Government Cut. The boaters did not file a float plan and were not reported overdue from their trip by any family members. The Coast Guard crew transported all five to Sector Miami where EMS personnel were waiting. Two people were taken to Mount SinaiHospital for treatment of hypothermia. The three remaining boaters were taken to the Miami-Dade Fire and Rescue dispatch center where they were waiting to be picked up by family members. (Feb. 18)