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Crew boat turns abruptly, runs hard aground on Louisiana jetty

May 31, 2017 03:35 PM
Miss Lynda docks in Cameron, La., the day after hitting a Calcasieu Ship Channel jetty.

Photo courtesy U.S. Coast Guard

Miss Lynda docks in Cameron, La., the day after hitting a Calcasieu Ship Channel jetty.

A crew boat carrying seven people ran onto a jetty marking the Calcasieu Ship Channel in southwest Louisiana, breaching its hull in several places.

The 135-foot Miss Lynda was outbound from Cameron, La., when it struck the west jetty at about 0730 on March 8. Video of the accident shows the vessel traveling straight before turning sharply to starboard and hitting the rocks.

The four passengers and three crewmembers were not hurt in the accident, the Coast Guard said, and there was no pollution.

The incident remains under investigation. As such, the agency is unable to comment on a possible cause, said Coast Guard Lt. Peter Bizzaro of Marine Safety Unit Lake Charles. He also could not discuss whether steering and mechanical equipment was functioning properly.

The vessel was carrying construction materials and the four passengers to a drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico. Weather and sea conditions were relatively calm at the time.

“There were light winds and minimal waves within the jetty there, but there were pretty substantial currents,” Bizzaro said before adding, “We don’t think those played a factor in this incident.”

The crew boat sustained damage to its keel and bottom plating.

Photo courtesy U.S. Coast Guard

Video of the accident, recorded by a local TV station, shows an outbound Miss Lynda proceeding normally between the jetties until it makes a sudden starboard turn. The vessel ran onto the jetty at roughly a 45-degree angle. The Coast Guard said most of the damage was in the forward part of the vessel along the keel and aluminum hull bottom plating.

At least two compartments flooded following the breach, Bizzaro said, though crewmembers were able to close off those spaces. The vessel carried more than 4,000 gallons of fuel and engine oil; none escaped during the accident or response.

Miss Lynda remained on the jetty overnight and was refloated at about 1545 on March 9. McKinney Salvage & Heavy Lift of Baton Rouge, La., oversaw the effort, which included using air bags to restore buoyancy to the damaged hull, according to the Coast Guard.

Bizzaro said the vessel backed off the rocks with assistance from the utility vessel Sally D. After it was freed, Miss Lynda headed back to Cameron to offload its cargo and then traveled to Gulf Island Shipyard’s Lake Charles facility. As of late March, the vessel was in dry dock undergoing repairs.

The four passengers disembarked onto Sally D shortly after the accident, but the three-person crew stayed on board during the episode. Traffic in the Calcasieu Ship Channel was not affected by the accident.

Miss Lynda, built in 1990, has four engines producing 2,040 hp, seating for 75 people and bunks for 10. It is owned by Abe’s Boat Rentals of Belle Chasse, La., which declined to comment on the accident.

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