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Casualty briefs

Workboat hits seawall in S. Carolina, killing one
State and federal authorities are investigating a fatal workboat accident in the Cooper River near North Charleston, S.C.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, a 24-foot Moran Environmental workboat hit a seawall near the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. The allision happened at about 2330 on July 6.

Vessel operator Edward Barnett died in the incident. A second person on board was treated at a local hospital for a leg injury.

The cause of the accident has not been determined. Additional details were not available.

Edison Chouest tug damages boat in Valdez
An Edison Chouest Offshore tugboat briefly lost steering and damaged a work skiff tied alongside an anchored oil spill response barge in Valdez, Alaska.‚Äč

Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. said the 140-foot escort tug Challenger was maneuvering away from OSRB-2 when it hit the unmanned skiff. The incident happened on June 29, two days after another company tug damaged a tanker while docking.

Kate Dugan, a spokeswoman for Alyeska, said no one was injured and there was no pollution stemming from the accident.

“While maneuvering in shallow water, the tug briefly lost steerage and we were concerned it may have touched bottom. The (Coast Guard) requested that divers inspect the hull, and (a) diver found no evidence of grounding,” Dugan said.

Edison Chouest Offshore took over the Prince William Sound oil tanker escort contract from Crowley Maritime on July 1. In the weeks leading up to the changeover, there were vessels from both companies in Valdez, creating congestion at existing anchorages.

“Crews were performing an unparalleled amount of work in the week leading to transition,” Dugan said. “After the incident, the (transition leadership) team reviewed the planned scope of work and slowed or deferred non-critical work. We have no future plans to anchor vessels in that area.”

Bulk carrier floats free after Duluth grounding
A 1,004-foot Great Lakes freighter ran aground in Duluth-Superior Harbor while leaving the port with a full load of taconite.

American Spirit became stuck just short of the breakwall near downtown Duluth, Minn., at about 1530 on June 17 while attempting to turn out of the harbor, the Coast Guard said. The incident occurred during a period of heavy rain.

The ship floated free at about 2200 that same night as water levels rose in the harbor. After refloating, American Spirit proceeded under its own power and tugboat escort to a nearby fuel dock for a hull examination.

The Coast Guard is investigating the grounding and has not determined the cause. Vessel operator American Steamship Co. of Williamsville, N.Y., did not respond to an email seeking comment. 

Barge with scrap vehicles catches fire in Seattle
At least two crushed vehicles fell from a barge that caught fire near a scrap metal facility along Seattle’s Duwamish River.

The barge was moored near Seattle Iron & Metal Corp. south of the Highway 509 bridge when it caught fire at about 2015 on June 26. Firefighters initially thought the fire was spreading to another barge also carrying scrap metal, propane tanks and trash, but later determined it remained confined to the single vessel.

The Seattle Fire Department extinguished the flames about three hours after the initial report. Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound spokeswoman Amanda Norcross said at least two cars fell from the barge into the waterway during firefighting efforts.

Global Diving & Salvage crews placed boom around the barge, but sheening was reported in the waterway the next morning. The vehicles that fell into the waterway did not affect traffic in the river, which bisects much of Seattle’s industrial waterfront.

Seattle’s fireboat Leschi was used to fight the fire along with shoreside units. Local media reported the fire has been ruled accidental.

The Hanson Maritime tugboat Salvation assists Alaskan Dream after the tour boat ran aground in Olga Strait near Sitka, Alaska, on June 30. The catamaran was able to refloat on its own after passengers were transferred to another tour vessel.

Tour boat runs aground on beach near Sitka
Forty-three passengers and 10 crew were evacuated from a small cruise ship that went aground near Sitka in southeast Alaska.

The 104-foot catamaran Alaskan Dream became stuck on a beach in Olga Strait on June 30, according to local news reports. The incident occurred about 12 miles from Sitka.

Tour operator Allen Marine dispatched St. Eugene to the stranded vessel, which is operated by Sitka-based Alaskan Dream Cruises. Passengers and crew climbed onto St. Eugene, which brought them back to shore in Jamestown Bay.

The Coast Guard dispatched the cutter Anacapa to Olga Strait, where its crew monitored the passenger transfer and refloating, local media reported. There were no injuries during the grounding or response.

The cause of the incident remains under investigation.

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