Crowley Vessel Performs Second At-Sea Rescue in Less than a Year
Thursday, October 03, 2013
Photo: Crowley

The crew aboard Crowley Maritime Corporation’s articulated tug-barge (ATB) Achievement/650-8 has performed its second rescue in nine months, this time saving the lives of four individuals aboard a 30-foot fishing boat taking on water 35 miles offshore from Clearwater, Fla., during a strong storm.

On the evening of September 15, the Achievement/650-8 was instructed to stand by and not proceed inbound to Tampa Bay due to a strong squall moving through the area, which brought torrential rains, 50-knot winds and heavy seas.  Due to the weather, the Tampa pilots also suspended boarding operations and the on-watch crew began to observe several marine advisories and distress calls come in over the radio in a very short period of time.

“While the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) was very responsive in assisting the boaters in distress, one fisherman in particular was having difficulty communicating over his radio, as it got drenched in the storm,” explained Crowley’s Capt. Gus Cramer. “It was clear, however, that he was offshore in the stormy conditions.  At that time, the Coast Guard was stretched very thin because the squall caught everyone by surprise and there were many boaters in distress.  After a few minutes of monitoring their calls for assistance, it was clear that we were the closest vessel to their location, approximately 12 nautical miles south.”

Around 5:40 p.m., knowing the sun would go down in a few hours, Cramer made an urgent call to the USCG informing them that they were proceeding to assist the sinking offshore fishing boat. The USCG acknowledged and requested that the Achievement/650-8 keep them updated on the status of the rescue. Cramer then readied his crew and redirected the ATB towards the distressed vessel’s position at full speed. During the voyage out to sea, the Achievement/650-8 team stayed in constant communication with the fishing boat crew to receive regular updates of their changing position.

“What made the rescue more difficult was the fact that the captain of the fishing boat had to keep running with the winds and waves in order to prevent the vessel from continuing to take on water and sinking,” Cramer said. “Unfortunately, the winds and waves caused them to move farther and farther away from us and further offshore. After 45 minutes of traveling in their direction, we only gained four or five miles in their direction.”

Cramer radioed the driver of the boat requesting that he slow the fishing boat as much as was safe to do so, and the ATB slowly made up ground. After two hours at sea and shortly before nightfall, the Achievement/650-8 spotted the fishermen just as their radio died. Cramer messaged the USCG to alert them that the ATB was on scene and the crew readied the rescue equipment.

Once alongside the fishing boat, Cramer’s crew lowered the pilot ladder over the side, which is a tool traditionally used to allow harbor pilots to board.  After a few attempts to make a rescue attempt on the port side, Chief Mate Ryan Emmons readied the pilot ladder on the starboard side. Using only his flashlight and voice commands, he directed the vessel to come along the ATB. Once on the starboard side, a sea painter (rope) was passed to the vessel to keep them close and the  Achievement/650-8 made a lee (a slow, sweeping turn to starboard) allowing the fishermen, who fortunately were uninjured, a safer and easier climb up the ladder. All four individuals were safely evacuated from the distressed boat and came aboard the Crowley vessel. No injuries were reported.

Once everyone was safely onboard, Achievement/650-8 attempted to tow the stricken fishing boat back to Tampa. Unfortunately, the line had to be cut to due to continued high seas that complicated the tow.  The Crowley crew communicated the coordinates of the drifting fishing boat to the USCG so that it could be located later.

The  Achievement/650-8 and the rescued persons arrived back at the Tampa sea buoy at 12:30 the following morning, and proceeded inbound for a petroleum berth in downtown Tampa, arriving around 05:30 a.m. Despite being chilled and wet, all four individuals walked off of the Crowley vessel and had no need for medical attention. Following the incident, the Achievement/650-8 safely delivered a load of fuel.

“The Crowley crew did a phenomenal job working as a team to save the lives of these fishermen,” said Cramer. “We chose the safest-possible plan and it worked because everyone knew what to do well in advance and the crew worked as a team.”

The crew aboard the  Achievement/650-8, which is a member of Crowley's petroleum services fleet, is fully trained and prepared to respond to a variety of incidents. In addition to meeting defined regulatory training requirements, the company’s crewmembers participate annually in company-sponsored safety programs, designed exclusively for mariners. The program provides training in survival tactics, shipboard fire fighting, medical incidents and other relevant topics to give the mariners the skills they need to survive in emergency situations.

“The great actions of this crew are due to their safety training, diligence and ability to work together,” said Crowley’s Rob Grune, senior vice president and general manger, petroleum and chemical transportation. “The entire Crowley family is exceptionally proud of the crew for their bravery and competency in yet another challenging situation this year. These crewmembers are true heroes and deserve to be recognized for their actions.”

Achievement/650-8 crewmembers responsible for the rescue include Capt. Cramer; Chief Mate Emmons; Second Mate Peter Madden; A/B Thomas “Duke” Ellington; Third Mate Dennis Blackman; A/B Louis Ferrer; Engineer Vince Mull; Assistant Engineers Zach Lindsey, Calvin Burrus and Mark Lettieri; A/B Tankerman Ronnie Robinson; and Robeson Carrier, cook. The trip was the last for Burrus, who had plans to retire after the voyage.

The first rescue of 2013 involved this same heroic crew, again led by Crowley’s Capt. Cramer, which rescued a badly injured man who was struggling to stay afloat near the base of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in the Bay. During the rescue, the Crowley team quickly lowered the vessel's rescue boat while underway and managed to pull the man from the water in less than eight minutes from the initial sighting and wrapped him in a blanket until the St. Petersburg Fire and Rescue boat arrived on scene to perform other life-saving treatments.

Maritime Today

The Maritime Industry's original and most viewed E-News Service

Maritime Reporter November 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Tanker Trends

Hoegh LNG Q3 Profits Disappoints

Oslo-listed Hoegh LNG, whose floating plants turn liquefied natural gas (LNG) into gas, reported on Monday third-quarter earnings below forecasts and offered a dividend of $0.

Torm Orders Four Tankers in $200 mln Deal

Danish shipping company Torm has signed an order for four fuel-efficient LR2 (long-range) product tanker vessels from Guangzhou Shipyard International in China for $200 million.

ESL Orders LNG-fueled Bulker following Transport Deal with SSAB

ESL Shipping Ltd and the steel company SSAB have signed a long-term frame agreement covering SSAB’s inbound raw material sea transports within the Baltic Sea and from the North Sea.


Henriksen Unveils Strongest SOLAS Boat Lifting Hook

H Henriksen of Norway has received SOLAS certification for a new off-load single-point boat lifting hook capable of holding up to 22.5-tonnes. The quick release

Raytheon Anschütz Succeeds in SYNTACS SAT

Raytheon Anschütz, a leading integrator of naval integrated bridge systems, has successfully completed the Sea Acceptance Test (SAT) for the Synapsis Tactical Command

Escort Tug Launched for Bay-Houston Towing

Eastern Shipbuilding Group, Inc. announced the launch of the Escort Tug H. DOUGLAS M (Hull 236) for Bay-Houston Towing Company on November 17, 2015. This series of Robert Allan, LTD.


Trucks Carrying Turkish Exports Blocked at Russian Border

Around 1,250 trucks carrying Turkish exports have been blocked from entering Russia and are stranded at border posts awaiting clearance, a senior shipping industry

Transas ECDIS Passes New IHO & IEC Standards

Transas Navi-Sailor 4000 ECDIS has passed all DNV-GL tests according to the new IHO & IEC standards. The new generation of the Transas ECDIS complies with the

Indonesia Ferry Hits Trouble, 97 Rescued

Almost 100 people were rescued when a ferry sailing towards Singapore from the Indonesian island of Batam hit a floating object and reportedly started to sink, authorities in the city-state said.


McAllister Towing – 150 Years of Family Business

“Early in 1864, a young man names James McAllister stood on board a sailing vessel where he served as a mate. The boat was about to set sail from the Red Bay of

Lightering Operations Begin for Sunken Lake Barge

Lightering operations has begunn for the  tanker barge Argo sunken in Lake Erie as Unified Command responders took advantage of a favorable weather window, the U.

Helm Announces Maintenance & Compliance Release

In line with the Subchapter M waterways rules which are due to come into effect in 2016, Helm Operations will introduce the full capability of it’s latest Maintenance and Compliance solution,

Coast Guard

Indonesia Ferry Hits Trouble, 97 Rescued

Almost 100 people were rescued when a ferry sailing towards Singapore from the Indonesian island of Batam hit a floating object and reportedly started to sink, authorities in the city-state said.

Panama-Registered Ship Sinks off Vigan City

A Panamanian cargo vessel MV Fortune Life sank off the coast 130 nautical off Vigan City in Ilocos Sur, Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), uthorities said.   The

Polish Cargo Ship SZAFIR Attacked off Nigeria

Pirates operating off the coast of Nigeria have taken hostage five Polish sailors, including the captain and officers, from the Polish general cargo ship Szafir.

Maritime Safety

RINA Launches Competence Management System Certification

International classification society RINA Services has launched a new Competence Management System certification which it says helps ship owners and managers to

Panama-Registered Ship Sinks off Vigan City

A Panamanian cargo vessel MV Fortune Life sank off the coast 130 nautical off Vigan City in Ilocos Sur, Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), uthorities said.   The

Extended Warranty from Yanmar for Sailboat Engines

Yanmar Marine International B.V. has introduced an extended 3 years’ period of YANMAR Limited Warranty for Sailboat Engine Models. This extended warranty of

Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Maritime Standards Navigation Offshore Oil Pod Propulsion Port Authority Ship Electronics Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1716 sec (6 req/sec)