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Mishaps and Rescues Connecticut & New York April 2011

Recent Coast Guard responses

Sinking fishing boat

Montauk, N.Y.

Jan. 18 - A Coast Guard HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew successfully rescued four mariners from the sinking fishing vessel Johanna Lenore, a 76-foot stern trawler, 40 nautical miles south of Montauk, N.Y.

Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound watchstanders contacted the fishing vessel captain after overhearing a radio distress call at approximately 3 p.m. The vessel reported it was taking on large amounts of water and pumps were unable to keep up with the flooding. All four crewmembers donned survival suits and had an inflatable life raft and an EPIRB.

Good Samaritan vessels tried to help the mariners with dewatering pumps.

Coast Guard rescue crews arrived on the scene and hoisted the mariners to the helicopter at approximately 4 p.m. Shortly after the four crewmembers were removed, the fishing vessel capsized and sank.

The rescue crews took the mariners to Coast Guard Station Point Judith, R.I., where emergency medical service personnel were waiting to aid the mariners. All four were reported to be in stable condition.

Weather included 20- to 30-knot winds with 10- to 15-foot seas.

Hoax call warning

New York

Feb. 3 - Coast Guard Sector New York's command center received two probable hoax calls in early February.

In one instance, when a probable hoax call was relayed through a radio tower, the person made a statement of distress, but failed to respond to the Coast Guard's numerous replies for assistance. The Coast Guard later determined this call to be a hoax, but not until after local authorities had already dispatched rescue boat crews.

Making hoax distress calls to the Coast Guard is punishable under federal law and could include monetary penalties and/or jail time.

In the last three months, Coast Guard Sector New York has had seven cases suspended because of a probable hoax. In the previous year, there were 20 cases and 57 during a five-year period before that.

"It takes time away from people who may be in real distress, and can tie up assets where they are needed," says Petty Officer 1st Class James Sybor, a search-and-rescue coordinator at Sector New York.

Coast Guard rescue helicopters cost taxpayers approximately $2,282 per hour to operate, and rescue boat crews range from $1,120 to $2,740, depending on the particular boat used. If investigators determine the identity of a hoax caller and the individual is found guilty, these costs can be passed on in addition to fines and/or jail time.

Tug crew injured

Kingston, N.Y.

Jan. 4 - A Coast Guard crew and local first responders worked together to rescue an injured tugboat crewmember near Kingston, N.Y.

An engineer aboard the tug Barbara McAllister reportedly suffered a leg injury and was stuck in the engine room while en route to Albany, N.Y., in the Hudson River.

Coast Guard Sector New York's search command center dispatched the cutter Wire to Kingston, where the crew took on members of the Kingston Fire Department and Emergency Medical Services to assist in the rescue.

After successfully getting the engineer aboard the Coast Guard cutter, the injured man was brought to Kingston Point, where he was transferred to local EMS for additional treatment. The cutter Wire is home-ported in Saugerties, N.Y.

Fuel spill dissipates

Everett, Mass.

Jan. 23 - Coast Guard investigators monitoring a diesel fuel spill near a terminal in Everett, Mass., have determined the spill dissipated.

Coast Guard Sector Boston received a report the previous day at around 1:23 p.m., from the Exxon-Mobil terminal that about a 100-foot-by-100-foot fuel sheen was sighted in the Mystic River.

Local partners and the Coast Guard responded and conducted shoreline searches into the night to determine a source of the spill. After resuming first-light searches this morning, no source was determined and the isolated spill totaling a few gallons had dissipated on its own.

Officials will continue to investigate the spill to determine the source of the diesel fuel.

This article originally appeared in the April 2011 issue.