Vessel Collides in Upper Bay

Tuesday, February 26, 2002
The Coast Guard, along with state and local rescue teams, is searching for survivors after an apparent collision involving three vessels that occurred in the Elk River, off the Chesapeake Bay in northern Maryland, early this morning. The vessels A/V Kastner, Buchanan 14, and Swift, were involved in an apparent collision on Monday morning. The tugboat Swift apparently sank while the A/V Kastner and tug Buchanan reportedly went aground.

Rescue crews transported two injured crewmembers to Union Hospital in Cecil County, Md., and one injured crewmember was flown to the Shock and Trauma Center in Baltimore. The extent of the injuries is unknown. Two others apparently made it to shore in good condition. Rescuers are attempting to account for all personnel from the three vessels involved in the incident. A 41-ft. rescue boat from Coast Guard Station Philadelphia and a 41-ft. boat from Coast Guard Station Curtis Bay, Md., are searching for survivors. The Cecil County, dive team and additional Cecil County Fire and Rescue marine units, Maryland Natural Resource Police units, and Maryland State Police units are also searching. Maryland’s Department of Environment is also assisting. The collision occurred in the vicinity of buoys 15 and 16, near Town Point Neck in the Elk River. The tug Buchanan 14, owned by Buchanan Marine, and tug Swift, owned by Norfolk Dredging Marine, were towing dredging equipment at the time. The A/V Kastner was leaving the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal, en route Baltimore. The A/V Kastner is carrying gypsum, a white mineral used to make plaster of Paris.

The A/V Kastner was refloated but the tug Swift, which has a fuel capacity of 5,000 gallons, apparently sank. Tug Buchanan, whose fuel capacity is unknown, is aground. A light diesel sheen has been reported in the vicinity of the incident. Coast Guard Activities Baltimore marine casualty investigators, marine inspectors, and pollution response personnel are investigating. Atlantic Environmental has been hired to perform environmental clean-up activities once search and rescue activities are complete. A joint-agency Incident Command Post has been set up at Town's Point. Vessel traffic through the C&D Canal is suspended until further notice.

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