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Mishaps & Rescues Mid-Atlantic - April

COLLISION WITH TANK SHIP - The towing vessel Dixie Vengeance and the two barges it was pushing collided Jan. 23 with the 807-foot tank ship Eagle Otome in Port Arthur. Vessel Traffic Service Port Arthur received notification of the incident at 9:30 a.m.

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Portsmouth cutter helps in drug bust

Portsmouth, Va.

Two law-enforcement boarding teams from the Coast Guard cutter Forward assisted Royal Bahamian Police Force officials and U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency agents in locating cocaine and marijuana hidden within a Haitian-flagged vessel.

The crew of the Forward - a 270-foot medium-endurance cutter home-ported in Portsmouth - detected the 65-foot motor vessel Lady Tamara running at night without its navigational lights from Haiti to the Bahamas and notified Royal Bahamian Police Force officials of the vessel entering Bahamian territorial seas.

Royal Bahamian Police Force officials contacted the Coast Guard for technical assistance with the dockside boarding of the Lady Tamara in Matthew Town, Bahamas. During the course of the boarding, crews located more than 360 pounds of cocaine and 46 pounds of marijuana hidden within the vessel's fuel tank. All five Haitian crewmembers and the contraband were transferred to Bahamian officials for further investigation. (Jan. 30)

Search suspended for missing fisherman

Sector North Carolina

The Coast Guard suspended its search for a fisherman who reportedly fell overboard about 66 miles southeast of Beaufort Inlet.

The missing 52-year-old man was a crewmember aboard the fishing vessel Scarlett Lady.

Crewmembers of the fishing vessel Shelly called Coast Guard Sector North Carolina watchstanders at 6:45 p.m., relaying that crew on the Scarlett Lady had witnessed the man, wearing yellow rain gear and no life jacket, fall overboard. The crew also reported they threw a life ring to him, but did not know whether he was able to get the ring.

Search-and-rescue air crews aboard an HC-130 Hercules airplane and MH-60 Jayhawk helicopters from Air Station Elizabeth City searched through the night for the man.

The crew of the Shelly, the Scarlett Lady, and the Coast Guard cutter Seahorse and Staten Island, both 87-foot patrol boats, also participated in search efforts.

The rescue crews searched a total of 1,395 square nautical miles. (Jan. 30)

5-year-old evacuated

Elizabeth City, N.C.

Coast Guard crews medically evacuated a 5-year-old boy and his parents from an oil tanker about 250 nautical miles east of Bermuda.

The crew of the tanker Axel Spirit called Rescue Coordination Center Bermuda and reported that a boy on board was experiencing symptoms of appendicitis and needed help. After coordinating with Rescue Coordination Center Norfolk, Va., a Coast Guard flight surgeon determined that his symptoms were severe enough to require immediate medical attention.

The RCC Norfolk watchstanders looked for vessels participating in the Automated Mutual-Assistance Vessel Rescue System, but there were no ships in the area that could provide the appropriate care. Because of the tanker's distance from land, an Air Station Elizabeth City MH-60T Jayhawk helicopter crew had to be prestaged in Bermuda the day before in order to rescue the boy when the ship was within range. One of Elizabeth City's HC-130J Hercules aircraft crews flew over the helicopter during the hoist to provide oversight and communications at such a far distance from land.

The boy was met by local EMS in Bermuda and taken to King Edward VII Memorial Hospital there. (Jan. 25)

Missing boater found at restaurant

Cortez, Fla.

The Coast Guard ended its search for a possible missing male boater near the Cortez Bridge after locating him at the Moore's Stone Crab Restaurant & Marina in Longboat Key, Fla.

A good Samaritan who saw a news report on the search contacted search-and-rescue coordinators at Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg, Fla., to report seeing the missing man's boat moored at the marina and the man himself near the restaurant.

The man, a British native, left St. Petersburg Municipal Marina in the 30-foot sailing vessel Lady Grace and was last reported to be near the Cortez Bridge. He left for Glades Boat Storage in Moore Haven, Fla., and was supposed to check in daily with a friend.

A HH-60 Jayhawk rescue helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, Fla., along with a 25-foot rescue boat crew from Station Cortez and a 33-foot rescue boat crew from Station Fort Myers Beach, Fla., searched the area for the missing man. (Feb. 6)

Crew assists in possible heart attack

Georgetown, S.C.

The Coast Guard medically evacuated a 54-year-old man from a 41-foot commercial fishing vessel 65-miles east of Georgetown.

The man was aboard the Crystal C, home-ported in Wilmington, N.C., when he started showing signs of a possible heart attack. A crewmember aboard the 41-foot vessel relayed a mayday to search-and-rescue coordinators at Coast Guard Sector Charleston via VHF radio for assistance.

An HH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter crew from Air Facility Charleston immediately launched to assist the fisherman. Carter was given initial medical attention en route to Georgetown Memorial Hospital. (Jan. 29)

Disabled sailboat off Florida Keys

Key West, Fla.

The crew of the Coast Guard cutter Ocracoke responded to a 37-foot Canadian-flagged sailboat named Emanuel with seven people aboard, which became disabled after one of the masts was damaged.

Watchstanders at the Seventh Coast Guard District Command Center in Miami received the initial call at 2 p.m. from a member of the Maritime Mobility Service Network, a network of amateur radio operators, who stated he received a radio call from the crew of Emanuel. The crew reported that the Emanuel's mast was damaged 285 miles west of Key West and they were heading to the Dry Tortugas National Park under auxiliary power.

Coast Guard search-and-rescue coordinators at Sector Key West established communications with the crew of the Emanuel and set up a communications schedule to allow the Coast Guard to track the Emanuel and monitor their situation as they headed to the Dry Tortugas.

At approximately 5:30 a.m., the crew of the Emanuel stopped responding to radio calls from Sector Key West watchstanders. The Coast Guard immediately diverted an HC-130 Hercules air crew from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater and the crew of the Coast Guard cutter Ocracoke to locate and re-establish communications with Emanuel.

The HC-130 aircrew arrived and re-established communications with the crew, who reported they had lost control of their helm and had no way of steering. The crew reported problems with their engine and said they had become adrift. Prior to departing the scene to refuel, the HC-130 aircrew dropped a Self Locating Datum Marker Buoy that floats and passes positional information to the Coast Guard by satellite. The positional information assisted Sector Key West search-and-rescue coordinators to track Emanuel as the crew of the Ocracoke continued to the scene.

An HU-25 Falcon jet air crew from Coast Guard Air Station Miami was later diverted to relocate and establish communications with the crew of Emanuel.

The crew of the Ocracoke arrived and took the Emanuel in tow. (Jan. 31)

This article originally appeared in the Mid-Atlantic Home Waters Section of the April 2010 issue.