Improper Crane Use Caused Crew Death -USCG

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

May 22, 2019

Inadequate training and improper shoreside crane operations were found to be the cause of a fatal accident earlier this year in the US Coast Guard buoy yard in Homer, Alaska.

A shoreside crane mishap on January 31 lead to the death of Chief Warrant Officer Michael Kozloski, who was working in the buoy yard at the time of the accident. Local emergency medical services personnel performed CPR and transported him to South Peninsula Hospital where he was pronounced deceased.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard investigation released on Tuesday, the improper operation of the crane was the result  leadership deficiencies aboard the Cutter Hickory that contributed to inadequate crewmember training and complacency with shoreside operations.

The commanding officer of Homer-based Cutter Hickory was temporarily relieved by Rear Adm. Matthew T. Bell Jr., commander of the 17th Coast Guard District, citing a loss of confidence in the officer’s ability to perform his duties.

“Command positions overseeing Coast Guard units, such as the Cutter Hickory, are among the most important and challenging assignments in our service,” Bell said. “Commanding officers are entrusted with tremendous authority and responsibility to ensure operational success, good order and discipline, and crew safety.”

The relief of a commanding officer by a district commander is a temporary administrative action followed by a formal review from Coast Guard Headquarters.

“We are continuing to review the results of the investigation, which identified causative factors that will help us prevent future incidents,” said Vice Adm. Fagan, commander of Coast Guard Pacific Area, who convened the major incident investigation. “The Coast Guard is committed to the professional operation of our units and the safety of our members and the American public."

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