Search Called Off for Two Missing After Ship Collision
Responders have called off a search for two fisherman missing following a fatal ship collision near Galveston, Texas, the U.S. Coast Guard said on Thursday.
One crew member has been rescued, one is deceased and two remain missing at the conclusion of a three-day search involving the Coast Guard and local responders that covered more than 49 square miles by aerial flights, shore patrols and maritime searches.
“It is never an easy decision to suspend a search," said Cmdr. Jordan Baldueza, Sector Houston-Galveston search and rescue mission coordinator. “Our hearts are with the families, friends and loved ones of every individual involved in this tragic event. Responders from multiple federal, state and local agencies, as well as multiple good Samaritans, have worked tirelessly over the past three days to conduct aerial flights, shore patrols and maritime searches covering more than 49 square miles in hopes of locating these two gentlemen.”
The four fisherman were forced into the water on Tuesday when their 81-foot vessel Pappy's Pride capsized as the result of a collision with the 600-foot chemical tanker Bow Fortune near the Galveston jetties.
One individual was rescued by a nearby vessel and treated by emergency medical services staff. Another was unresponsive when recovered by a Coast Guard boat crew that administered CPR, and he was later pronounced deceased by medical personnel.
The Coast Guard and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the cause of the incident.
Vessel Traffic Service Houston-Galveston has placed some vessel restrictions between the Galveston Bay entrance channel lighted buoys 7 and 8 and the Galveston Bay entrance channel lighted buoys 9 and 10, with wake and surge considerations due to recovery operations in that area, the Coast Guard said.
Approximately 500-feet of containment boom has been placed around the capsized vessel, and teams are conducting shoreline assessments to determine environmental impact. Sheens of unrecoverable product have been reported in the vicinity of the capsized vessel. The maximum potential of the release is 14,000 gallons of diesel fuel, the Coast Guard said.
The Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund has been accessed to contract a local recovery organization to conduct clean-up of any recoverable product that has entered the water and remove any threat of pollution from the vessel.
Salvage of the Pappy's Pride will be contracted through the fishing vessel's insurance underwriters.