Friday, February 24, 2006

Tug Valour - Coast Guard Investigating Officer Synopsis of the Incident

Below is a synopis of the Tug Valour incident which was published in the press release in the next post below and can be found on the Coast Guard District 7 website.
Dwayne Clark
INVESTIGATING OFFICER SYNOPSIS OF THE INCIDENT: On January 17, 2006, the Tug VALOUR was underway towing the barge M-192 loaded with oil. The vessel was located off the Carolina Coast heading south. Some time after 9:15 p.m. the tug had a slight list to port. The tug’s Master ordered corrective action be taken by the Chief Engineer. At approximately 11:20 p.m., the seas were 12-15 feet reaching occasionally to 20 feet and the winds were coming from the SSW at 35 knots with gusts up to 50 knots. The tug began to list much more severely and the Master sounded the general alarm, notified the Coast Guard, alerted the crew of the situation, and ordered them to muster with their lifejackets. The Chief Mate fell down a ladder seriously injuring himself. The crew began performing CPR on the Chief Mate. Earl Shepard, an Able Bodied Seaman, went to find a feasible route to get the Chief Mate to a better location to in order medically assist him. The Master slowed the tug to prevent it from capsizing. As the barge began to overtake the tug the Master ordered the crew to release the tow line. Mr. Shepard was swept overboard with his lifejacket. The Master notified the Coast Guard and tried to maneuver the tug to retrieve Mr. Shepard. After approximately 45 minutes in the water, Mr. Shepard was rescued by a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter which also deployed a liferaft and advised the crew to abandon ship. Ronald Emory, an Able Bodied Seaman, was swept overboard. The crew was not able to remove the Chief Mate from the tug before they all went in the water. A nearby tug, the JUSTINE FOSS, heard the distress call and diverted to assist as the tug VALOUR sank. The crew of the JUSTINE FOSS used any and all means available to rescue the crew of the VALOUR. With the exception of Mr. Brenner and Mr. Emory, the crew of the VALOUR was brought onboard the JUSTINE FOSS. After getting onboard the JUSTINE FOSS, the Chief Engineer died of cardiac arrest despite the crew performing CPR. While in transit to Wilmington, NC, the Assistant Engineer of the VALOUR, had a medical issue and was removed from the JUSTINE FOSS by Coast Guard Helicopter for medical assistance. The JUSTINE FOSS recovered the barge, M-192 and towed it to Wilmington, NC.

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