Casualty briefs


Louisiana mariner dies after falling from towboat on Lower Mississippi
The body of a mariner who fell overboard from a Mississippi River towboat in St. James Parish near Convent, La., has been found.
John Kenneth Blazier III of St. Amant, La., who went by Trey, was last seen working on St. Genevieve at about 2020 on May 22. His body was spotted June 4 by another towboat crew near St. Rose, La., in St. Charles Parish.

“It’s bittersweet,” Amber Blazier Calvit, the victim’s sister, wrote after his remains were recovered. “We are grateful to be able to get some closure, especially knowing that other families who feel our pain may not. It’s been hard to think about anything other than finding him, so now we can start to move on from there.”

Details of the incident have not been released by the Coast Guard, and the victim’s family is not entirely sure what happened. Blazier Calvit said her brother was wearing a personal flotation device.

Blazier, 30, loved fishing, spending time outdoors and playing his guitar, according to his sister, who said he always kept his Bible close. Since his death, several people have come forward with stories about how he helped them during difficult times.

Blazier especially enjoyed working on the river. “He wouldn’t do any other job, he only wanted to work as a mariner,” Blazier Calvit said. “He had several other job offers but declined them to wait to get back on the boat he really wanted to be on, which was the one he lost his life on.”

ason Strait, vice president of operations for Western Rivers Management, operator of the 2,000-hp St. Genevieve, said the company still doesn’t know much about what happened.

“There were no witnesses to the incident,” he said by email. “His fellow crewman heard him go in and that’s it. We helped the family as much as we could through the search and burial of their son and brother, but in these situations enough never seems enough.”

The bulk carrier Century Queen collided with the towboat Kaytlin Marie on the Lower Mississippi River in Norco, La., on June 8, damaging both vessels. An unknown amount of fuel spilled from the towboat.

Courtesy Hooked Up Hard Down/Facebook

T-bone collision damages bulk carrier, towboat
The Coast Guard is investigating a T-bone collision involving a bulk carrier and towboat on the Lower Mississippi River across from the Shell refinery in Norco, La.

The inbound bulker Century Queen collided with the outbound towboat Kaytlin Marie, according to Coast Guard spokeswoman Alexandria Preston. The incident occurred at 1300 on June 8 at mile marker 127. There were no injuries.

Photos taken shortly after the incident show that the Panama-flagged ship struck Kaytlin Marie port-side aft near the engine room door. The towboat sustained moderate damage to its hull and internal structure, and the bulker’s bulbous bow also was damaged.

An unknown amount of fuel escaped from the towboat, which remained afloat, Preston said. Crews placed boom around the damaged vessel to prevent as much fuel as possible from contaminating the river.

The Mississippi River and many other waterways have been running high and fast for more than three months. Additional details about the case were not available. The cause remains under investigation.

OMR Transportation Co. owns Kaytlin Marie, and attempts to reach the company for comment were not successful. Dowa Line of Tokyo manages Century Queen; the company did not respond to an inquiry.

The 738-foot Gorgoypikoos sits aground in the Columbia River east of Tongue Point, Ore., on June 2. The stern partially obstructed the navigation channel until the ship floated free the next day with the rising tide.

U.S. Coast Guard photo

Columbia River grounding blamed on steering failure

A 738-foot bulk carrier grounded in the Columbia River east of Astoria, Ore., reportedly after a steering system failure.

The Malta-flagged Gorgoypikoos ran soft aground on Miller Sands near Tongue Point on June 2. The vessel was making about 10 knots when the steering control system malfunctioned, the Coast Guard said.

Levi Read, spokesman for Coast Guard Sector Portland, declined to elaborate, citing the ongoing investigation. None of the 21 crew were injured and there was no pollution from the ship. It was loaded with grain and 318,000 gallons of fuel.

The ship’s stern partially obstructed the navigation channel, and the Columbia River Pilots and Columbia River Bar Pilots restricted vessel passages through the area while the ship remained in place. It refloated with high tide on June 3. After coming free, the vessel sailed to its destination in Longview, Wash.

The Columbia River Pilots declined to comment during the investigation. Ship manager Anbros Maritime S.A. of Athens, Greece, did not respond to an email inquiry by press time.

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