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Mishaps and Rescues - Mid-Atlantic July 2010


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The bow of a 31-foot pleasure craft rises from the water May 11 30 miles off Cape Lookout National Seashore, where it was found capsized by the Monica M, the fishing vessel in the background. The Monica M found one man clinging to the hull and pulled him to safety. The Coast Guard suspended its search for two missing men.

Search suspended for missing N.C. boaters

Atlantic Beach, N.C.
The Coast Guard suspended its search at 8:10 p.m. for two missing men after their 31-foot Fountain capsized the previous morning and a third man aboard was rescued 30 miles outside of Beaufort Inlet near Big Rock in Carteret County.
The Coast Guard suspended its search after covering about 3,000 square nautical miles in two days.
The survivor was found by the crew of the fishing vessel Monica M and taken to Onslow Memorial Hospital for treatment of dehydration and exposure.
The search for the two missing men was conducted by an MH-60T Jayhawk rescue helicopter crew and an HC-130J Hercules rescue plane crew from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, a rescue boat crew from Station Fort Macon, and the Coast Guard cutter Beluga. Also included in the search was Pedro, an HH-46E helicopter from Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point. (May 12)

Scotland-bound sailboat found adrift
Portsmouth, Va.
The Coast Guard medevaced a 66-year-old man from a sailboat 113 miles off the coast of Cape Henry.
The sailor was airlifted from his vessel by a Coast Guard rescue helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., and transported to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital.
Watchstanders at the Coast Guard 5th District Command Center received a call from the sailor's friend. The friend had stopped receiving electronic updates from the 31-foot sailboat Lancastrian, whose owner was sailing the vessel alone from Norfolk, Va., to Scotland.
Watchstanders diverted the container ship M/V President Jackson, a participant in the Automated Mutual Assistance Vessel Rescue system (AMVER) to the vicinity of the last known location of the Lancastrian. The President Jackson was able to locate the sailboat, which was adrift, but the merchant vessel's size prevented it from rendering assistance.
The oceangoing tugboat Julie, another participant in AMVER, was also diverted to the scene and its crew was able to lower a boat into the water and pull alongside the Lancastrian. The crew of the Julie contacted the Coast Guard command center and reported that the sailboat's owner seemed incapacitated.
An HH-60 Jayhawk rescue helicopter crew launched from Air Station Elizabeth City. Two rescue swimmers were lowered into the water and made their way to the Lancastrian, where they consulted with the sailor as well as his spouse via satellite phone. The decision was made to abandon the sailboat, and the swimmers and the Lancastrian's owner were hoisted aboard the helicopter. (May 10)

Overloading cause of Katmai sinking
Juneau, Alaska
The Coast Guard released its final report of the investigation into the Oct. 22, 2008 sinking of the fishing vessel Katmai, which sank in Amchitka Pass, Alaska. Of the 11 crew aboard the Katmai, four were rescued, five died and were recovered and two remain missing.
The investigation and public hearings were conducted in Anchorage and Seattle by investigators from the Coast Guard with assistance from the National Transportation Safety Board. Several primary factors identified in the report include imprudent voyage planning; failure to maintain watertight boundaries; excessive loading of cargo in the vessel's fish hold and exposure to heavy winds and high seas. The cause of flooding in the engine room remains unknown.
Recommendations in the report aimed at preventing recurrences include several regulatory and legislative changes focusing on inspection and stability requirements, licensing of fishing vessel masters and revising Title 46, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 28, which contains the specific requirements for commercial fishing industry vessels. (May 7)
For more on the Katmai sinking, visit keyword: Katmai.

Clinging to capsized sailboat
Portsmouth, Va.
Coast Guard units saved two people in Hampton Roads.
A crew from Coast Guard Station Milford Haven, Va., rescued two people whose sailboat capsized in Davis Creek, near Mobjack Bay.
At 3:20 p.m. Station Milford Haven received a call from the Matthews County (Va.) Sheriff's Department reporting two people clinging to the sides of a capsized sailing vessel. A rescue boat crew from Station Milford Haven and a rescue helicopter crew from Air Station Elizabeth City were launched in response. The Virginia Marine Resources Commission responded as well. Station Milford Haven arrived first at 3:50 p.m. and found a 69-year-old and a 73-year-old. Both individuals refused medical assistance and were transferred to the care of family members on shore. (May 10)

Engineer pleads guilty to pollution charge
Raleigh, N.C.
Vaja Sikharulidze, a citizen of Georgia, pleaded guilty to violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships, in violation of Title 33, United States Code, Sections 1901, et. seq.
Sikharulidze, 59, was the chief engineer of the Motor Tanker Chem Faros, a 21,145 gross-ton oceangoing cargo ship. The ship was operated by Cooperative Success Maritime SA and regularly transported cargo between various ports in Asia and the United States, to include Morehead City, N.C.
The investigation revealed that from March 4 through March 29, Sikharulidze, who had overall responsibility for the engine department, failed to maintain an accurate oil record book for the disposals of oil residue and discharges overboard and disposal of oily sludges, oily mixtures, slops from bilges and bilge water that accumulated in machinery spaces. Specifically, the oil record book failed to show discharges of oil-contaminated waste made without the use of the ship's pollution prevention equipment.
Further, from September 2009 until March 2010, engine department crew members pumped oil-contaminated waste directly overboard by using a pipe that bypassed the OWS. On at least one occasion between March 4 and March 29, Sikharulidze directed subordinate crewmembers to bypass the ships' OWS and pump oil-contaminated waste directly overboard.
This resulted in about 13,200 gallons of oil-contaminated waste to be discharged into the ocean.
At sentencing, Sikharulidze faces a maximum statutory penalty of up to six years imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $250,000 and up to three years supervised release. (May 4)

Coast Guard suspends search in Middle River
The Coast Guard suspended its search at 2:01 p.m. for four people aboard a boat reportedly taking on water in the Middle River.
Coast Guard Sector Baltimore watchstanders began coordinating the multiagency search after receiving a mayday call on channel 16 from the operator of the vessel in distress at 2:48 a.m., reporting that his 28-foot pleasure boat had one adult and three children aboard and was taking on water.
The rescue crews collaboratively searched a track line of 141 nautical miles throughout the night and continued searches through the morning lasting approximately eight hours. The search was suspended pending further developments. (April 24)

Coast Guard rescues 2
Wildwood, N.J.
The Coast Guard rescued two people when the personal watercraft they were aboard went aground in a marsh near Wildwood.
The Coast Guard received a call at 4:18 p.m. from a member of the New Jersey State Police reporting a grounded PWC; the passengers could not get out to walk because they would sink in the mud. The New Jersey State Police arrived on the scene, but because of the shallow water no boats could get into the area to assist.
A rescue crew from Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City, N.J., arrived on the scene and hoisted the two people aboard their helicopter.
A crew from Sea Tow was planning to recover the PWC when the tide rose. (May 2)

This article originally appeared in the Mid-Atlantic Home Waters section of the July 2010 issue.