Recent Updates for U.S. Coast Guard Digital Newsroom
NEW ORLEANS – The Coast Guard and good Samaritans are responding to the report of a vessel on fire approximately 150 miles south of Southwest Pass, Louisiana, Monday.
Watchstanders at the Eighth Coast Guard District command center received a report at 3:28 a.m. from the National Command Center of an electrical fire in the engine room of the motor vessel Alliance St Louis.
Coast Guard Aviation Training Center Mobile launched an HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircrew who conducted an over flight of the vessel and confirmed that the fire had been extinguished by the crewmembers.
No injuries or pollution has been reported.
The Alliance St. Louis is currently on emergency power and drifting approximately 135 miles southwest of Southwest Pass with 20 crewmembers aboard and safely accounted for.
A good Samaritan integrated tug, Mariya Moran, is on scene with the vessel. The Alliance St. Louis is currently awaiting a tow company to arrive on scene.
At approximately 10:00 a.m. Coast Guard Cutter Brant got underway to provide additional assistance.
MIAMI — The Coast Guard Cutter Raymond Evans repatriated 71 Cuban migrants Sunday to Bahia de Cabañas, Cuba.
This repatriation was a result of five separate at-sea migrant interdictions in the South Florida Straits between Jan. 4 and Jan. 6, prior to the Department of Homeland Security policy change on Jan. 12. In each instance, the Coast Guard helped secure the U.S. border and prevented these sea voyages from ending in tragedy.
“We discourage anyone from taking to the sea and attempting to reach U.S. soil illegally – they are risking their lives with very little chance of success,” said Capt. Mark Gordon, chief of enforcement for the Coast Guard 7th District. “Navigating the Florida Straits can be extremely dangerous for the unprepared especially with the rough weather we are seeing. The Coast Guard and our partner agencies continue our missions and operations in the Southeast and remain ready to stop those who take the illegal, ill advised and unsafe journey across the Florida Straits.”
Once aboard a Coast Guard cutter, all migrants receive food, water, shelter and basic medical attention.
Since Oct. 1 at least 1,893 Cubans attempted to migrate to the U.S. via the maritime environment compared to 7,411 in fiscal year 2016. These statistics represent the total number of at-sea interdictions, landings and disruptions in the Florida Straits, the Caribbean and Atlantic.
The Cutter Raymond Evans is a 154-foot fast response cutter homeported in Key West.
For breaking news, please follow us on Twitter @uscgsoutheast.
PORTSMOUTH, Va. — The Coast Guard rescued two people Sunday from a grounded boat near Deltaville.
Watchstanders at Coast Guard Station Milford Haven in Hudgins received a call from Middlesex County dispatchers at about 1:15 a.m., stating a 40-foot pleasure craft was aground in Jackson Creek with two men aboard, including a 75-year-old man who required medication.
Watchstanders in the Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads Command Center in Portsmouth issued an urgent marine information broadcast and a 29-foot Response Boat-Small (RBS) crew launched from Station Milford Haven at about 1:55 a.m.
The boat crew arrived on scene at approximately 2:43 a.m. and realized it was too shallow to come alongside the grounded pleasure craft. Two crew members from the RBS waded through the water to the grounded boat to assess the survivors. The crew determined it was too dangerous for the stranded boaters to wade through the water back to the RBS.
The Coast Guard crew returned to the station, retrieved a kayak, and arrived back on scene at about 3:30 a.m.
The crew used the kayak to transport both survivors and bring them aboard the RBS.
They were taken to shore near Deltaville Boatyard.
“This rescue demonstrated how well our entire crew works together as a team,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Landon Milhorn, officer of the day, crewman and second coxswain for the case. “We encourage mariners to report problems on the water as they arise. Simple engine problems can lead to running aground in a short amount of time. Thankfully, we were able to reach these men quickly.”
WILMINGTON, N.C. — The Coast Guard rescued two duck hunters and their dogs Saturday after their boat ran out of fuel near Merrimon.
Watchstanders at Coast Guard Station Hobucken received a call from Pamlico County 911 dispatchers at about 4:28 p.m. reporting two men in a 17-foot, brown skiff, low on fuel in the vicinity of Turnagain Bay.
Station Hobucken watchstanders notified watchstanders in the Sector North Carolina Command Center in Wilmington, who then issued an urgent marine information broadcast.
A 24-foot Special Purpose Craft-Shallow Water crew from Station Hobucken launched at approximately 4:45 p.m.
The crew located the duck hunters on a beach in Turnagain Bay at at about 5:41 p.m., who had grounded their boat after running out of fuel. The crew spotted one of the men waving a paddle with a sweater tied to the end.
The Coast Guard took aboard both men and their two dogs and brought them to the Cedar Island Ferry Terminal on Cedar Island at about 7:51 p.m.
"The two men were smart to use their cell phone to call 911 and were able to indicate their location before their phone ran out of battery life," said Petty Officer 2nd Class JC Tyus, response boat coxswain for the case. "All mariners are reminded to conduct checks of their vessels prior to heading out. Double checking is an easy way to avoid problems out on the water."
Imagery available: Coast Guard Station Cape Disappointment pays tribute to lost Coast Guardsmen, mariners
Sector St. Petersburg watch standers received a mayday call at 8:27 a.m. via VHF-FM radio channel 16 from one of the five boaters who stated the boat was flooding.
A 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew from Station Cortez and an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Clearwater launched. The RB-M boat crew arrived on scene at 10:05 a.m. and assisted the distressed boaters with the flooding. Once the flooding was controlled, the boat crew provided escort to Big Sarasota Pass Inlet.
"By using their VHF radio, these boaters were able to quickly contact the Coast Guard and relay their position," stated Chief Petty Officer William Wells, a command duty officer at Sector St. Petersburg. “The Coast Guard highly recommends equipping fishing and recreational vessels with a VHF radio."
No injuries were reported.
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PHILADELPHIA – The Coast Guard has suspended their search for a missing fisherman in Little Egg Harbor, at approximately 5:30 p.m., today.
Coast Guard air and surface search and rescue crews searched approximately 35-square miles since they were notified about the missing individual at 8 a.m., this morning.
Agencies involved in today’s search were members of the New Jersey State Police, Tuckerton Fire Department and Coast Guard units from Station Barnegat Light and Air Station Atlantic City.
“We offer our condolences to the family and friends affected by this tragedy,” said Capt. Benjamin Cooper, Commander of Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay. “Suspending a search is never an easy decision for rescuers.”
BOSTON— The Coast Guard rescued two people off their sinking vessel Friday, about 17 miles off shore from York, Maine.
At around 3:15 p.m., Coast Guard Sector Northern New England received a MAYDAY call on VHF-CH. 16 from a crew member reporting their 45-foot lobster boat, Miss Mae & Son, was hit with a rogue wave and the pumps could not keep up with the water.
A boat crew from Station Portsmouth Harbor launched their 47-foot response boat and arrived on the scene to find the fishermen standing on the pilot house in full survival gear.
Due to safety concerns, the fishermen jumped into the water and the boat crew pulled alongside to bring them on board. The water temperature was 42 degrees and the air temperature was 37 degrees.
The fishermen are being brought back to Station Portsmouth Harbor and no injuries have been reported.
"The lobsterman did all the right things- activated their emergency personal indicating response beacon, called for help on the radio, and wore the proper survival gear," said Petty Officer 2nd Class Mike Mathlin, the coxswain of the 47-foot response boat.
Sector Northern New England is currently issuing a broadcast to mariners informing them the lobster boat is taking on water and adrift with nobody on board.
Coast Guard Cutter Tahoma returns to Maine following 49-day patrol, $90 million cocaine interdiction
BOSTON — Coast Guard Cutter Tahoma returned to homeport Friday after a 49-day patrol in the Eastern Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea.
Homeported in Kittery, Maine, Tahoma’s crew conducted drug interdiction efforts, strategically intercepting and boarding suspected smuggling vessels, which resulted in the interception and seizure of four open-hulled outboard powered panga-style fishing vessels illegally transporting contraband. The crew confiscated approximately 3,130 kilograms of cocaine worth a street value of $90 million.
In order to optimize the law enforcement readiness and operational effectiveness, Tahoma’s crew embarked and employed an armed helicopter detachment from Jacksonville, Florida’s Coast Guard Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron (HITRON). The crew also worked alongside United States and international partner agencies to detect and prosecute these cases.
Of the crew’s four seizures, three occurred within a five-day span over the Christmas holiday. Each case required a high-speed chase by the Tahoma’s pursuit boat teams and use of the armed helicopter to disable the engines of fleeing suspect vessels. The efforts of the crews resulted in the interdiction of tons of cocaine that was eventually destined for the streets of our Nation.
The Tahoma’s crew deployed during a period of high flows of illegal drugs in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. Tahoma was deployed from its homeport to the waters off the coast of Central America requiring the cutter to make transit both ways through the Panama Canal. In total, the 270-foot medium-endurance cutter and its 90-plus member crew traveled over 11,500 nautical miles in support of the Coast Guard’s Western Hemisphere Strategy and Joint Interagency Task Force South initiatives.
“I’m tremendously pleased with the professionalism, dedication and success of Tahoma’s crew and her assigned armed helicopter detachment,” said Cmdr. Tim Brown, Tahoma’s commanding officer. “They responded expertly to any reported suspect vessels at all hours of the day and night. They also overcame many difficulties like being away from home over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays and patrolling for weeks on end without a break. This crew responded with aplomb, helping protect our nation from the violence, death and destruction caused by the trafficking of cocaine to our communities.”
ILWACO, Wash. — The Coast Guard is scheduled to host a memorial service, Saturday, at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center in tribute to Coast Guardsmen and mariners who lost their lives during seven separate tragic accidents involving Coast Guard personnel and assets in the Pacific Northwest.
The media is invited to join family, friends, former and current Coast Guardsmen in remembering those who have been lost at sea with wreath ceremonies on land and at sea.
The tribute recognizes:
- The seven lives, five Coast Guardsmen and two mariners, lost, Jan. 12, 1961, attempted rescue of two crew members aboard the 38-foot fishing vessel Mermaid by the crew of the 52-foot Motor Life Boat Triumph near the Columbia River Bar.
- The four lives, all Coast Guardsmen lost aboard a 36-foot motor life boat, Feb. 5, 1946.
- The three lives, all Coast Guardsmen, lost of 10 aboard Coast Guard 41-foot Utility Boat 41332, Nov. 15, 1977, during night navigation training near the Columbia River Bar.
- The one life, a Coast Guard aviator aboard Coast Guard aircraft 1353, Nov. 14, 1981.
- The three lives, one Coast Guardsman and two mariners, lost, Jan. 11, 1991, during rescue operations, of the 75-foot fishing vessel Sea King in, which two Sea King crew members were rescued near the the Columbia River Bar.
- The three lives, all Coast Guardsmen, lost during the Feb. 12, 1997, rescue operations of two crew members aboard the 31-foot sailing vessel Gale Runner near the Quillayute River Bar.
- The three lives, all Coast Guard aviators aboard HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter 6017 from Air Station Sitka, Alaska, lost, July 7, 2010, during return flight from Astoria, Oregon.
Personnel at Coast Guard Station Cape Disappointment host this memorial service annually at the beginning of the new year in honor of Coast Guardsmen who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
Media interested in attending are requested to RSVP with Petty Officer 1st Class Levi Read at 206-819-9154 or by email Levi.A.Read@uscg.mil.WHO: Rear Adm. Mark Butt, commander Coast Guard 13th District; Capt. William Timmons, commander Sector Columbia River; Master Chief Petty Officer Leilani Cale-Jones, deputy master chief petty officer of the Coast Guard; Master Chief Petty Officer Sean McPhilamy, command master chief, Coast Guard 13th District; Master Chief Petty Officer Karl Keyes, command master chief, Sector Columbia River; retired Rear Adm. Daniel Neptun; family, friends, former and current Coast Guardsmen WHAT: Annual Coast Guard Station Cape Disappointment Memorial Ceremony WHEN: Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017 at 10 a.m. WHERE: 244 Robert Gray Drive SW, Ilwaco, WA 98624
WASHINGTON - The third and final Coast Guard Marine Board of Investigation hearing has been scheduled to commence on Feb. 6, 2017, in Jacksonville.
This hearing will examine additional elements of the investigation including crew witnesses, TOTE company officials, Coast Guard officials and contents of El Faro's Voyage Data Recorder, including the transcript of bridge audio recordings which was released Dec. 13, 2016, by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). The NTSB, which is conducting its own concurrent investigation, will fully participate in the Marine Board of Investigation hearings.
What: Marine Board of Investigation, third and final hearing
When: Commencing Feb. 6, 2017. An updated advisory will be released containing additional schedule information.
Where: Prime F. Osborn Convention Center, 1000 Water Street, Jacksonville, FL 32204
How: There are several ways interested parties may stay up to date with the MBI proceedings.
The Coast Guard will be tweeting live hearing updates from @uscoastguard with the following hashtags: #CGMBI #Elfaro.
An e-mail has been set up for interested parties to ask questions or make comments. This e-mail will be checked regularly. The e-mail is: ELFARO@uscg.mil.
The Coast Guard is also hosting a live stream of the proceedings. The web address for the live stream and an archive of past El Faro proceedings is: livestream.com/USCGInvestigations
Reporters must register to attend the hearing by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org. Media must register no later than 4 p.m. Friday, February 3.
Ground Rules for the EL FARO Hearing are:
Reporters may attend open sessions of the Marine Board, as may members of the public as long as they do not detract from the decorum of the proceedings or inhibit a witness' willingness to testify. The Coast Guard's policy is to permit expanded media coverage of marine casualty investigations; therefore, audio and video recordings are authorized under the following conditions:
- Media pooling will be required
- Witnesses will not be available for interviews until the Marine Board Chairman releases them from their testimony
- Entering and exiting the hearing room shall only be conducted during designated breaks
- No extreme close-ups of documents, witnesses and/or members of the Marine Board
- Bench conferences shall not be recorded by audio or by extreme close-up video or photography
- Media members must prominently display their credentials at all times and remain within their assigned area
- Confidential communications between counsel and client or co-counsel shall not be recorded by audio or by extreme close-up video or photography
- Questions regarding the proceedings shall be directed to the Coast Guard media liaison. A liaison will be present at the venue throughout the hearing
Failure to adhere to these rules or other verbal instructions may result in removal from the hearings.
For additional information, please contact Alana Miller at Alana.L.Miller@uscg.mil or 202-510-6523.
Statement from US Coast Guard Atlantic Area Commander Vice Adm. Karl L. Schultz on announcement of changes to the US Cuba immigration policy
PORTSMOUTH, Va. - "The U.S. Coast Guard maintains a robust presence in the Florida straits, the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. Our role in the enforcement of U.S. immigration laws remains unchanged in light of Thursday's announcement. The Coast Guard’s highly-trained crews aboard cutters, aircraft and small boats remain ready and continue to work with our DHS partners to stop any attempts at illegal immigration to the United States. If anyone attempts to illegally immigrate by sea the U.S. Coast Guard will stop them and repatriate them in accordance with U.S. law and international agreements.
Safety of life at sea is top priority for the Coast Guard and our DHS partners. Taking to sea in a poorly-constructed, ill-equipped craft is extremely dangerous. Every effort will be made by the Coast Guard to stop illegal voyages before they potentially end in tragedy. I urge Cuban-American communities to discourage the people of Cuba from putting their lives at risk in dangerous and illegal at-sea crossings."
For the full White House announcement, click here.
For Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson's statement, click here.
For the joint statement between the governments of the United States and Cuba, click here.
For the DHS fact sheet on changes to parole and expedited removal policies affecting Cuban nationals, click here.
Vice Adm. Karl L. Schultz is the U.S. Coast Guard's Atlantic Area Commander, where he serves as the operational commander for all Coast Guard missions from the Rocky Mountains to the Arabian Gulf, spanning across five Coast Guard Districts and 40 states. Vice Adm. Schultz' bio can be found here.
For more information about Coast Guard alien migrant interdiction operations in the Florida Straits and the Caribbean, please contact the Coast Guard Seventh District Public Affairs Office in Miami at (305) 415-6683.
For more information regarding this change in immigration policy, please contact the DHS Office of Public Affairs at (202) 282-8010.
The Coast Guard, New Jersey State Police and Tuckerton Fire Department are searching for a missing clam fisherman in Little Egg Harbor, New Jersey, today.
Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay dispatched an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Air Station Atlantic City and a 29-foot Response Boat-Small crew from Station Barnegat Light, after they were notified of the missing man at about 8 a.m., today.
The man reportedly contacted a relative to notify them that his clamming boat ran aground, and reportedly did not require assistance, at approximately 8 p.m., Thursday.
The man's boat was reportedly found containing fishing gear on Hither Island earlier today.
NEW ORLEANS – The Coast Guard has suspended the search for a person in the water approximately one mile from Pelican Island near Venice, Louisiana, Thursday.
Coast Guard Sector New Orleans received a report at 2:25 p.m. of an Asian man falling overboard from a 22-foot fishing vessel, Wednesday.
The case was suspended at 5:04 p.m. and approximately 145 square nautical miles were searched.
Involved in the search were:
- A Coast Guard Air Station MH-65 Dolphin Helicopter crew
- A Coast Guard Station Venice 24-foot Special Purpose Craft boatcrew
- A Coast Guard Aviation Training Center Mobile HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircrew
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A Unified Command has been established in response to a diesel fuel discharge discovered Monday from a North Slope Borough-owned storage tank in Kaktovik.
The product discharged was ultra-low sulfur diesel that discharged from an above-ground storage tank with a total capacity of 5,000 gallons. The tank reportedly discharged an estimated 4,200 gallons of diesel. The discharge impacted a gravel pad and a ditch one quarter of a mile from the Kaktovik Lagoon leading to the Beaufort Sea.
Coast Guard and Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation pollution responders are expected to be on scene by Friday to conduct assessments and monitor cleanup efforts. The North Slope Borough hired the response organization Alaska Response Services, which has a team on scene surveying the scope of the spill. Additional equipment and personnel are scheduled to arrive in Kaktovik Thursday.
Current containment efforts include the construction of snow berms to mitigate further impact and spread of the diesel. The area is covered by snow and ice, which serves to limit the spread of fuel and protect the underlying tundra until cleanup can occur.
The North Slope Borough reported that the discharge has not resulted in facility closures. There is no fuel shortage for the community. No injuries have been reported.
"We are working diligently with the Coast Guard, ADEC and the community to mitigate any potential environmental impacts of this discharge," said Ian Stroud, Division Manager, North Slope Borough.
The Unified Command consists of the Coast Guard, ADEC and the North Slope Borough.
The cause of the incident is under investigation.
BALTIMORE - The Coast Guard will establish a temporary security zone in designated waters of the National Capital Region for the 58th Presidential Inauguration effective January 15 through January 24.
Security Zone 1 will include all navigable waters of the Potomac River, from shoreline to shoreline, bounded to the north by the Francis Scott Key (US-29) Bridge, at mile 113, and bounded to the south by a line drawn from the Virginia shoreline at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport eastward across the Potomac River to the District of Columbia shoreline at Hains Point, including the waters of the Boundary Channel, Pentagon Lagoon, Georgetown Channel Tidal Basin, and Roaches Run.
Security Zone 2 includes all navigable waters of the Anacostia River, from shoreline to shoreline, bounded to the north by the John Philip Sousa (Pennsylvania Avenue) Bridge, at mile 2.9, and bounded to the south by a line drawn from the District of Columbia shoreline at Hains Point, southward across the Anacostia River to the District of Columbia shoreline at Giesboro Point, including the waters of the Washington Channel.
Security Zone 3, all navigable waters of the Potomac River, from shoreline to shoreline, bounded to the north by a line drawn from the Virginia shoreline at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, eastward across the Potomac River to the District of Columbia shoreline at Hains Point, thence southward across the Anacostia River to the District of Columbia shoreline at Giesboro Point, and bounded to the south by the Woodrow Wilson Memorial (I-95/1-495) Bridge, at mile 103.8.
During the enforcement period, entry into or remaining in the zone is prohibited unless authorized by the Coast Guard Captain of the Port (COTP) Maryland-National Capital Region. Public vessels and vessels already at berth at the time the security zone is implemented do not have to depart the security zone. All vessels underway within the security zone at the time it is implemented are to depart the zone at the time the security zone is implemented.
Mariners requesting permission to transit a specific security zone should contact that zone's designated representative by hailing "Patrol Commander" via Marine Band Radio, VHF-FM channel 16 (156.8 MHz).
Coast Guard vessels enforcing this zone can be contacted on Marine Band Radio, VHF-FM channel 16 (156.8MHz).
The COTP Maryland-National Capital Region can also be contacted at 410-576-2693.
Penalty: Persons or vessels violating this section may be subject to civil or criminal penalties pursuant to 33 U.S.C. 1232.
HONOLULU-The Coast Guard is seeking the public's help identifying the owner of yellow kayak found in Nawiliwili Harbor, east Kauai, Wednesday.
Anyone with information that may help identify the owner of the kayak is asked to contact the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu Command Center at 808-842-2600.
Watchstanders at Station Kauai received a report from Kauai Police Department, 12:15 p.m. today, stating they received a report of an unmanned, adrift kayak.
There are currently no reported signs of distress or missing persons in the area.
Coast Guard Station Kauai launched a 45-foot response boat-medium to search for possible people in the water.
The Coast Guard offers free "If Found" decals to be placed in a visible location on human-powered watercraft through the Operation Paddle Smart program. The information on the sticker allows response entities to quickly identify the vessel's owner and aid search and rescue planners in determining the best course of action.
The stickers can be obtained for free at local harbormasters, through the Coast Guard Auxiliary, from Honolulu Sail and Power Squadron offices and at select marine retail and supply stores.
NEW ORLEANS – The Coast Guard is responding to a report of a person in the water approximately one mile from Pelican Island near Venice, Louisiana, Wednesday.
Coast Guard Sector New Orleans received a report at 2:25 p.m. of an Asian man falling overboard on a 22-foot fishing vessel.
Involved in the search are:
- A Coast Guard Air Station MH-65 Dolphin Helicopter crew
- A Coast Guard Station Venice 24-foot Special Purpose Craft crew
- A Coast Guard Aviation Training Center Mobile HC-144 Ocean Sentry crew
Anyone with information please contact Sector New Orleans at (504) 365-2200.