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Casualty briefs

May 2, 2017 12:05 PM

Barges, towboat pinned in Ohio River lock allision
​Three barges carrying natural gas condensate broke free after hitting a wall in the Racine Lock and Dam north of Huntington, W.Va., resulting in two of the barges and their towboat being pinned.

The 3,200-hp towboat Austin C. Settoon was downbound on the Ohio River when the tow struck the wall near the lock entrance at mile marker 237.6, Coast Guard Petty Officer Lexie Preston said. The incident occurred at about 0530 on March 2. 

Two barges and the towboat became pinned against gates on the dam, and one barge stayed within the lock. The towboat Capt. Ed Harris moved the barge from the lock late on March 2. Another towboat, Alabama, removed Austin C. Settoon from the dam on March 4, the Coast Guard said. M.K. McNally towed the remaining barges from the dam on March 5.

The Coast Guard established a unified command with the Army Corps of Engineers, West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, Mason County Emergency Management and Settoon Towing of Pierre Part, La. Authorities closed the locks for about a day, which affected at least 13 upbound vessels and 11 downbound vessels.

The 297-foot barges were each carrying 30,000 barrels of natural gas condensate. The Coast Guard said there were no injuries or pollution from the accident, which remains under investigation. 

Settoon Towing did not respond to a request for comment. 

Fire in English Channel damages US-flagged ro-ro
Fire broke out in the lower levels of M/V Honor shortly after the U.S.-flagged cargo ship departed the Port of Southampton, England, on Feb. 24, according to operator American Roll-on Roll-off Carrier (ARC). 

The fire began at about 0400 and damaged vehicles and other cargo on decks 1 through 3, ARC spokesman Charles Diorio said. Crew sealed the holds and the fire was extinguished with the ship’s fixed CO2 system. Honor returned to Southampton under its own power; none of the 21 crewmembers were hurt. 

The ship moved to an offshore anchorage to ventilate the holds before returning to the pier for inspection by the U.S. Coast Guard and National Transportation Safety Board. The cause of the fire is still under investigation. 

The 622-foot Honor was bound for Baltimore with a mixed ro-ro and break-bulk cargo when the fire occurred. As of early March, it was awaiting approval to sail from Southampton. The extent of the damage was not known.

ARC, based in Woodcliff Lake, N.J., is the largest U.S.-flagged ro-ro carrier and the third-largest U.S. international shipper. 

Coast Guard boat strikes SC bridge, injuring six
Six Coast Guard crewmembers were injured when their vessel struck a bridge near Charleston, S.C., while responding to an apparent small aircraft accident.

The 45-foot response boat-medium hit rubber bumpers around the Paul Gelegotis Bridge at 2208 on Feb. 19. The vessel did not make contact with the support pillars, according to the Coast Guard. 

It’s not clear what part of the vessel hit the bumpers, and the Coast Guard said damage estimates were not available. 

After the accident, crew steered the response boat to the St. Johns Yacht Harbor adjacent to the bridge, which carries traffic over the Stono River between Johns Island and James Island. The span is also known as the Stono River Bridge.

Paramedics transported the Coast Guard personnel to a hospital, where they were treated for minor injuries and released. The cause of the accident is under investigation. 

Injury and search roundup
• The 35-year-old chief engineer aboard the Belgian-flagged tanker Ingrid suffered a broken leg after getting hit by the ship’s anchor chain in the lightering zone between Freeport and Galveston, Texas. Crew on the 1,092-foot ship reported the accident at about 0635 on March 2, and the Coast Guard airlifted the crewman to a nearby hospital later that morning. 

• A 35-year-old Chinese mariner was reported missing from the Hong Kong-flagged bulker BBG Bright at about 0745 on March 2. The Coast Guard and local authorities used aircraft and boats to search for the man in the Mississippi River near Convent, La. The search was called off at sundown.

• The Coast Guard rescued a 34-year-old crewman Jan. 22 after he suffered head and shoulder injuries in a fall while working on the 528-foot Panama-flagged tanker Huemul. The man was airlifted into a helicopter roughly 145 miles southwest of Key West, Fla., and flown to waiting paramedics on shore.

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