Deck Watch learns about marine mammal rescues

Barrow to Anchorage walrus transfer

Two Coast Guard crewmembers aboard a Kodiak-based HC-130 Hercules airplane transfer a baby Walrus from the plane to an awaiting Air Force truck at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, July 30, 2012. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class David Mosley.

The Coast Guard conducted a transport of two stranded walrus calves from Barrow to Anchorage aboard a Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak HC-130 Hercules airplane Monday and Deck Watch Radio spoke with Tim Lebling, the stranding coordinator at the Alaska SeaLife Center about the rescue. Deck Watch Radio is a five-minute weekly radio program covering highlights of Coast Guard operations in Alaska. Click here to listen to the show.

In other news this week:
July 27 – Coast Guard Sector Juneau was notified by the 65-foot commercial fishing vessel Linda B that they had run aground July 27 at high tide south of Hawk Inlet on Admiralty Island. The vessel’s engine room has flooded and the vessel continued to take on water. The two person’s aboard stated they were not in distress but the Coast Guard launched a Station Juneau 45-foot Response Boat-Medium to assist and assess the situation. A commercial salvage vessel towed the Linda B safely to Hoonah with the assistance of the Coast Guard RB-M. The Coast Guard Cutter Liberty was also on scene to respond if assistance was necessary.

July 28 – Coast Guard Sector Anchorage received a report of three people in the water about a half a mile south of Seward Saturday. The Seward Fire Department recovered two of the individuals and the Coast Guard was requested to search for the third. Sector Anchorage issued an urgent marine information broadcast and requested the direct launch of an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Cordova along with Coast Guard Cutter Mustang’s small boat. The search was 75 completed before responders were forced to delay due to decreased weather conditions. First light searches were conducted early Sunday morning but the third person was not found.

July 29 – A Coast Guard Station Ketchikan 47-foot Motor Life Boat crew rescued a fisherman Sunday morning when his vessel began sinking while under tow to Ketchikan from Gardner Bay. A 17th Coast Guard District watchstander received a report Saturday that the fishing vessel Viewpoint was tied to the good Samaritan fishing vessel Ocean Maid in Gardner Bay near Dixon Entrance and was taking on water. The master was reportedly unable to keep up with flooding despite the use of multiple dewatering pumps. The master was only person aboard the Viewpoint. Station Ketchikan launched a 47-foot MLB and crew just before midnight to assist the vessel in distress. The flooding was under control when the Coast Guard arrived on scene early Sunday. The MLB crew took the Viewpoint in tow for transit to Ketchikan. While in tow, the Viewpoint began rapidly taking on water again and the crew was unable to keep up with the flooding. The Station Ketchikan boatcrew removed the master from the Viewpoint and allowed the fishing vessel to sink. They arrived safely to Ketchikan aboard the MLB and the master of the Viewpoint was taken to PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center to have a head injury treated. An estimated 400 gallons of diesel fuel was aboard the Viewpoint when it sank. Marine Safety Detachment Ketchikan personnel are investigating the sinking and will determine what salvage can be conducted. The Viewpoint is a 49-foot seiner homeported in Craig.

July 29 – Coast Guard Sector Anchorage received notification from the good Samaritan vessel AK4STAR reporting the pleasure craft Sea Rover aground with five persons aboard in North Culross Passage of Prince William Sound Sunday. The AK4STAR removed the people from Sea Rover and towed vessel off the beach in hopes they and the nearby vessel Soggy Bottom could escort it to Whittier. However, the Sea Rover quickly took on water and sunk with 30 to 40 gallons of diesel aboard. The Sea Rover crew was taken safely to Whittier aboard the AK4STAR.

July 29 – The fishing vessel Carol E contacted the Coast Guard Sunday to report that they had lost steering and were taking on water in Kendrick Bay near South prince of Wales Island. The two crewmen aboard were assisted by nearby good Samaritans who provided dewatering pumps to keep the flooding under control. The fishing vessel Lady Kate towed the Carole E further into Kendrick Bay for trouble-shooting and dewatering. A Coast Guard Station Ketchikan 47-foot Motor Life Boat crew also responded to the call and remained on scene to monitor the case until the vessel completed repairs.

July 31 – Coast Guard Cutter Sycamore crewmembers deployed the cutter’s Spilled Oil Recovery System equipment near Barrow Tuesday to conduct training on the ship’s built-in spill recovery gear. The SORS equipment is a vital asset to the Coast Guard’s marine environmental protection mission and is being deployed as part of multi-day preparedness exercise focused on safely dealing with hazardous materials spills in the Arctic maritime environment. The Coast Guard worked with DoD assets in the region Wednesday to test their response capabilities and further interoperability between the services.

July 31 – The Coast Guard 17th District command center received a 406 emergency position indicating beacon alert registered to the fishing vessel Lady Jade approximately 38 miles north of Cold Bay Tuesday. During the command center’s preliminary investigation they confirmed the beacon had been sold to the fishing vessel Shannon Kelly. The Shannon Kelly was reportedly underway between Port Moeller and Cold Bay. Coast Guard Sector Anchorage and Communications Station Kodiak issued an urgent marine information broadcast on both VHF and HF channels requesting further information from vessel’s in the area or contact from the Shannon Kelly. The UMIB went unanswered. The Coast Guard launched an HC-130 Hercules airplane and crew from Kodiak, an MH-60 Dolphin helicopter forward deployed from Kodiak to Dutch Harbor, and the Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf to assist. The Hercules aircrew arrived on scene and confirmed that Shannon Kelly crew was not in distress. The master of the vessel activated the EPIRB because they were drifting for over 22 hours due to a lack of battery power to restart engine. A good Samaritan vessel was on scene and assisted the Shannon Kelly.

August 2 – Coast Guard Sector Juneau received report that the fishing vessel Evening Star sank in Slocum Arm 40 miles northwest of Sitka in 40 feet of water Thursday. The vessel capsize while pulling in loaded salmon nets. The good Samaritan fishing vessel Chickamene rescued all five crewmen from the Evening Star in good condition and took them to Sitka. The amount of fuel aboard is unknown at this time. Personnel from Marine Safety Detachment Sitka are working with the owner to salvage the vessel if possible.

August 3 – The Coast Guard and Juneau Mountain Rescue have located the wreckage of a missing small plane in Southeast Alaska Thursday. Coast Guard Sector Juneau received a report of a white and teal Piper Cherokee from Air Excursions, LLC. overdue on a flight from Juneau to Gustavus at approximately 9:17 a.m. prompting a search of the region by a Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Sitka and a helicopter from Coastal Helicopters in Juneau. The Coastal helicopter located the wreckage at about 3 p.m. near Point Howard in the Tongass National Forest 23 miles west of Juneau. The Coast Guard rescue helicopter delivered a four-man Juneau Mountain Rescue team to the ground approximately one half mile from the crash site. Upon arrival to the crash site at about 4:24 p.m. they located the pilot of plane deceased. The Juneau Mountain Rescue team was returned to Juneau aboard the Coast Guard helicopter. The Coast Guard attempted to access the site Friday to assist Alaska State Troopers with recovery operations but weather conditions made such operations impossible. They are standing by for weather to improve.

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