Proceedings Of The Marine

SPR 2015

Proceedings magazine is a communication tool for the Coast Guard's Marine Safety & Security Council. Each quarterly magazine focuses on a specific theme of interest to the marine industry.

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23 Spring 2015 Proceedings Shark Fin Shoals. I told the mate to get out of the notch, put the hawser on the bow, and pull. We refoated the barge and anchored it in Hooper Straits. I called the helicopter crew at Patuxent River Naval Air Sta- tion to come and pick me up, but we could not go to Eliza- beth City, North Carolina, as it was snowing and blowing a gale, and the helicopter was icing up. When we got back to Patuxent, the helicopter basically fell the last 15 feet onto the runway. It was a rough landing. Shortly after that, a CG helicopter put me on another tanker in heavy ice conditions in the Chesapeake Bay. The tide was fooding, pushing the ship against a dredge spoil area out- side of the channel. We had tugs there pulling, but making no progress. I suggested that one tug proceed close to the ship to relieve the pressure from the ice. As soon as the tug pushed through the ice, the ship rocked and moved about Woodrush, we took a picture of the wreck on the bottom, with an experimental side-scan sonar. Vessel Responses In December 1975, we worked with the Gulf Strike Team when a barge became stranded in the surf line west of San Juan, Puerto Rico. No. 6 oil was pouring out of the barge, and for the next 37 days, we used ADAPTS to pump off the barge. In January 1976, we responded to a grounded vessel in Rodanthe, North Carolina. The vessel had been en route to a scrap yard in Texas, under tow, when the hawser parted during a storm and the ship went on the beach. The ship had a belly full of No. 6 oil in its double-bottomed tanks. We went aboard and set up ADAPTS to pump the product up to the ship's deep tanks, so it could be refoated. While working this job, we received a call about a possible spill off Virginia's Eastern Shore. So, I went from Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, to the east- ern shore of Virginia, via CG helicopter, and found 200,000 gallons of No. 6 oil on approximately 20 miles of shoreline. It was a massive cleanup operation, lasting 30 days. We had 900 open-topped drums flled with oil and debris. A friend who served with me on the USCGC Madrona, and I discovered a way to burn the oil. 1 In May 1976, a tug near Cleveland, Ohio, was trying to shift from a hawser to pushing and got a line in the screw. Its barge had hit a jetty, and by the time I got aboard, it was sinking. We used a 50-ton steam derrick to hold the barge until we rigged the air-deliverable anti-pollution transfer system. We pumped No. 6 oil from the barge into another barge. There was no cleanup, as it was very rough, and the product dissipated. The Argo Merchant In December 1976, we arrived on the scene of the M/V Argo Merchant, which ran aground on the Outer Nantucket Shoals. The Coast Guard removed the crew and used the USCGC Bittersweet and Spar and Army sky crane helicopters to put ADAPTS and other equipment onboard. There were a lot of problems, due to the weather and the vessel's location. The ship broke in half three days before Christmas, spilling approximately 7.5 million gallons of No. 6 oil, which dispersed in heavy seas. Neither Rain Nor Sleet Nor Snow In January 1977, a helicopter put me on a tug to assist the captain on a barge that ran aground in Tangier Sound, Maryland. The tug was in the notch, trying to back off of The SS Edmund Fitzgerald. Photo courtesy of the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration. Oil leaks from a barge. U.S. Coast Guard photo by BMC Bill Lockwood.

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