Crowley Vessel Performs Second At-Sea Rescue in Less than a Year

MarineLink.com
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.

crowley.com
 

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

Tanker Trends

First Gas Turbine-powered LNG Carrier Granted AIP

Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) announced it has jointly developed world’s first gas turbine-powered 174,000 m3 LNG carrier with GE Aviation and Marine and has secured

Japan's MHI Bags Indian Oil's LNG Storage Tank Contract

Indian Oil Corp (IOC) has awarded a contract to build two football stadium-sized liquefied natural gas (LNG) storage tanks at its upcoming Ennore LNG import terminal

FSL Trust Inks Tanker Contracts

FSL Trust Management Pte. Ltd., as trustee-manager of First Ship Lease Trust announced new time charter agreements for FSL Shanghai, FSL Hamburg and FSL Singapore.

News

Tunisia Reassures Yachters Following Terror Attack

A week after a terrorist attack in Tunisia, local superyacht businesses are reassuring yachters that security has been increased at Tunisian ports despite numerous cancellations.

Shell's Icebreaker Vessel Damaged in Alaska

Royal Dutch Shell Plc's  icebreaker vessel Fennica returned to the Dutch Harbor in Alaska with a small breech in the hull, raising concerns about the company's

Djibouti Training Center Build on Pace

The construction of the Djibouti Regional Training Centre (DRTC) in Doraleh, Djibouti is moving forward in earnest, with a view to completion by the end of September 2015,

Barges

Carlyle Group Acquires LMC

Global alternative asset manager The Carlyle Group today announced the acquisition of Lauderdale Marine Center (LMC), the nation's largest yacht repair facility

Propulsion Under Wireless Remote Control

Thrustmaster of Texas, Inc. has been supplying wireless remote controls for thrusters since the 1980s, offering products that are supported through their lifecycles

ContainerTug B.V. Releases Two New Models

Young Dutch ship design, engineering and construction company ContainerTug B.V. follows on the introduction of the ContainerTug 600S early last year with the release

Coast Guard

Cruise Ship Passenger Medevaced off US

A cruise ship passenger suffering stroke symptoms was medevaced by U.S. Coast Guard personnel approximately 200 miles east of Wilmington, North Carolina. The

Lakes Limestone Trade Tops 4 Mln Tons in June

Shipments of limestone on the Great Lakes totaled 4,042,766 tons in June, an increase of 6 percent compared to May, and 9-plus percent compared to a year ago, according

As First Victims Mourned, Italian Navy Searches On

Italy held a funeral service on Tuesday for 13 migrants who died in the worst shipwreck in the Mediterranean in recent history, while the navy continued its search for other victims of the disaster.

Maritime Safety

Tunisia Reassures Yachters Following Terror Attack

A week after a terrorist attack in Tunisia, local superyacht businesses are reassuring yachters that security has been increased at Tunisian ports despite numerous cancellations.

Shell's Icebreaker Vessel Damaged in Alaska

Royal Dutch Shell Plc's  icebreaker vessel Fennica returned to the Dutch Harbor in Alaska with a small breech in the hull, raising concerns about the company's

Djibouti Training Center Build on Pace

The construction of the Djibouti Regional Training Centre (DRTC) in Doraleh, Djibouti is moving forward in earnest, with a view to completion by the end of September 2015,

 
 
Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Navigation Pod Propulsion Salvage Ship Electronics Ship Simulators 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: 0.2472 sec (4 req/sec)