Freighter adrift off Cape Cod after fire breaks out on the bridge

Feb 28, 2011 12:00 AM
The following is the text of a press release issued by the U.S. Coast Guard:
 
(BOSTON) -- The Coast Guard is assisting a disabled and adrift 432-foot ocean freighter with nine people on board 70 miles southeast of Cape Cod, Mass today, Feb. 26, 2011.
 
The motor vessel Dintelborg, enroute from the Netherlands to Willington, Va., lost propulsion when a small fire broke out on the bridge. The fire has been extinguished, and there are no reports of any injuries, but the ship is adrift without power in 16-foot seas and has no ship to shore communications. Winds are 20 knots.

An Air Station Cape Cod, Mass. MH-60 jayhawk helicopter launched and arrived on scene at 2:52 a.m. and established contact with the crew of the freighter, who are using a hand-held radio to communicate.

A Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules aircraft launched from Elizabeth City, N.C. has relieved the helicopter, and is serving as a communications platform to relay messages from the disabled ship to rescue coordinators on shore. An Air Station Cape Cod HU-25 falcon jet will relieve the Hercules later today.

The Tug Rown Mcallister from New Bedford, Mass. is enroute to the ship and plans to tow it to Providence, R.I.

Coast Guard Cutter Seneca, a Boston-based 270-foot medium endurance cutter diverted while on patrol and is expected to arrive on scene at about 2:30 p.m. today.

Watch standers in the First District Command Center in Boston first became aware of the problem when a signal from the freighter’s emergency position indicating radio beacon was detected at 1:13 a.m. Radio calls to the ship were unanswered and it wasn’t until the helicopter arrived on scene that contact was established.

The cause of the fire is unknown and the Coast Guard is investigating.

“We weren’t sure of the nature of distress until the helicopter arrived on scene,” said Lt. Adam Schmid from the First District Command Center in Boston. “The ship is seaworthy and the good news is none of the crew have been hurt. We are working now with the ship to arrange a tow and get the ship to port safely.”
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