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Recent Updates for U.S. Coast Guard Digital Newsroom


PHOTOS: Coast Guard Cutter Neah Bay rescues man walking in middle of Lake St. Clair  Follow link

March 5, 2015 12:49 pm

The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Neah Bay, home-ported in Cleveland, rescued a 25-year-old man attempting to walk across Lake St. Clair, March 5, 2015. The crew is transporting the man, a U.S. citizen who was hypothermic, back to shore in Algonac, Mich., where they will be met by emergency medical services. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Josh Zike) The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Neah Bay, home-ported in Cleveland, rescued a 25-year-old man attempting to walk across Lake St. Clair, March 5, 2015. The crew is transporting the man, a U.S. citizen who was hypothermic, back to shore in Algonac, Mich., where they will be met by emergency medical services. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Josh Zike)

The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Neah Bay, home-ported in Cleveland, rescued a 25-year-old man attempting to walk across Lake St. Clair, March 5, 2015.

The crew is transporting the man, a U.S. citizen who was hypothermic, back to shore in Algonac, Mich., where they will be met by emergency medical services.

U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Josh Zike

The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Neah Bay, home-ported in Cleveland, rescued a 25-year-old man attempting to walk across Lake St. Clair, March 5, 2015.

The crew is transporting the man, a U.S. citizen who was hypothermic, back to shore in Algonac, Mich., where they will be met by emergency medical services.

U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Josh Zike

The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Neah Bay, home-ported in Cleveland, rescued a 25-year-old man attempting to walk across Lake St. Clair, March 5, 2015. The crew is transporting the man, a U.S. citizen who was hypothermic, back to shore in Algonac, Mich., where they will be met by emergency medical services. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Josh Zike)

The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Neah Bay, home-ported in Cleveland, rescued a 25-year-old man attempting to walk across Lake St. Clair, March 5, 2015.

The crew is transporting the man, a U.S. citizen who was hypothermic, back to shore in Algonac, Mich., where they will be met by emergency medical services.

U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Josh Zike

CLEVELAND — The Coast Guard rescued a man attempting to walk across Lake St. Clair Thursday morning and is transporting the man to Algonac, Michigan.

The man rescued is a 25-year-old American citizen, who stated he was attempting to walk from Detroit to Toronto.

At about 9:30 a.m., the lookout assigned to Coast Guard Cutter Neah Bay, a 140-foot ice-breaking tug home-ported in Cleveland, spotted a man walking in the middle of frozen Lake St. Clair, about one and a half miles from Seaway Island. The ice-rescue team aboard the cutter deployed on foot to check on the man. Upon reaching the man, the rescue team questioned the individual, treated the man for symptoms of hypothermia, and assisted him aboard the cutter.

The man was taken to the municipal pier in Algonac, where he was met by emergency medical service personnel and transferred to their care.

"Most of us joined the Coast Guard to protect life," said Lt. Joshua Zike, commanding officer of the Neah Bay. "Our primary mission during the winter months is breaking ice to keep commercial traffic moving, but preserving life will always come first."

The man was not dressed appropriately for the conditions out on the lake, was not wearing any flotation gear and had no form of communication.

This rescue conducted by the crew of the Neah Bay is the first rescue of a person conducted by an ice-rescue team deployed from a Great Lakes cutter in more than 4 years.

The cutter arrived at the docks in Algonac at 12:40 p.m. Media interested in conducting interviews with the crew of the Neah Bay in Algonac, should call the Coast Guard 9th District public affairs at 216-902-6020 to coordinate.

The Coast Guard encourages everyone who goes out on the ice to remember the acronym I.C.E.

Information - Know the weather and ice conditions, know and tell a trusted person on shore where you are going, and know how to call for help. Never go out alone.

Clothing - Wear the proper clothing to prevent hypothermia. Wear a waterproof exposure suit and a life jacket.

Equipment - Carry the proper equipment. Carry two ice picks or screwdrivers, which will help you pull yourself out of the ice if you fall through. They are much more effective than bare hands. Carry a whistle or noise maker to alert people that you are in distress. Carry a cellular phone or marine band radio in a waterproof container so that you can call for help if you come across trouble.



Multimedia Release: Coast Guard monitors cargo vessel near Welch Island, Ore. (copy)  Follow link

March 5, 2015 9:06 am

Editors Note: To view or download high resolution photos or video, please click on the image below. DVIDS requires registration to download imagery.

Coast Guard urges caution on, near ice as warmer temperatures arrive  Follow link

March 5, 2015 1:01 am

CHICAGO — The Coast Guard is urging people to use extreme caution on and near waterways with the forecast for sustained, warmer temperatures beginning this weekend.

The above freezing-temperatures could pose safety concerns on Lake Michigan and inland rivers, streams and ponds that have become frozen during the past few weeks. Rising temperatures will cause recently-frozen waters to further melt and become weak.

Ice is unpredictable and the thickness can vary, even in small areas. Water currents, particularly around narrow spots, bridges, inlets and outlets, are always suspect for thin ice. Stay away from cracks, seams, pressure ridges, slushy areas and darker areas since these signify thinner ice.

Obstruction such as rocks, logs, vegetation and pilings affect the strength of ice. Heat from these obstructions slows ice formation. Ice shifting and expanding can create pressure cracks and ridges around the obstructions.

In addition, ice near the shore of a frozen lake may be unsafe and weaker because of shifting, expansion, and sunlight reflecting off the bottom.


The Coast Guard is also urging people to remain clear of shorelines, piers, jetties, rocks, walkways and jogging paths that may have become covered in layers of ice. Mother nature may have created winter wonderlands of interesting formations this winter, but people should not let their curiosities take a priority over safety.

People walking their dogs should always keep them on a leash to prevent the pet from falling or jumping into the water.

The 1-10-1 Principle: 1 minute - 10 minutes - 1 hour

Everyone who enters cold water doesn't drown, but research shows that many drowning incidents may be the result of cold shock response and cold incapacitation. In cold water drowning situations, if you survive the first minute, the cold will soon rob your muscles of their strength and dexterity. Even strong swimmers can experience swim failure after a few minutes.

When a cold water drowning situation begins, a person has about one minute to gain control of their breathing and 10 minutes or less of meaningful movement and muscle control to get themselves out of the water. Severe hypothermia will set in within one hour, but without a life jacket, the victim is likely to drown before that occurs.

Cold Water Kills

The Coast Guard and water safety experts say public education and preparedness may help prevent cold water drowning deaths. In addition to understanding the physiological effects of cold water, people need to be aware that the initial shock of entering the cold water can cause panic and gasping resulting in a person inhaling large mounts of water.

"Cold water is a very unforgiving environment," said Chief Warrant Officer Phil Robinson, officer in charge of Coast Guard Station Calumet Harbor. "People need to know the dangers, know their limits, and be ready to take quick action in the case of an emergency.

The Coast Guard’s 9th District, which includes Chicago and the surrounding Lake Michigan regions, has 39 stations, two air stations, and ten cutters designated, trained and equipped for ice rescue operations.

"The Coast Guard and our partner agencies stand prepared and ready to help those in distress this winter, but it is the general public who take to the cold water or ice that needs to be the most prepared," said Mike Baron, the recreational boating safety specialist for the 9th District."

The public is advised to call 911 to report a person who has fallen through the ice or who is in distress in icy waters.



Coast Guard and Puerto Rico Police rescue distressed diver, a boat operator off the coast of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico  Follow link

March 4, 2015 10:19 pm

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The crew of a Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter and a Puerto Rico Police marine unit rescued two men, a distressed diver and the operator of a disabled dive boat, Wednesday afternoon, approximately two nautical miles off the coast of "Punta Borinquen" in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.

After resurfacing, the diver reportedly struggled in rough seas to swim back to the 21-foot-disabled dive boat and began drifting drift away from the vessel.

Coast Guard watchstanders in Sector San Juan received communication from a 9-1-1 emergency dispatcher relaying the distress call from the operator of the dive boat who reported the incident.

Coast Guard watchstanders immediately launched an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Air Station Borinquen to search for the diver, while a Puerto Rico Joint Forces of Rapid Action marine unit also responded.

Upon arriving on scene, the crew of the Coast Guard helicopter spotted the diver attached to his dive buoy as he waved for assistance. The helicopter's rescue swimmer was deployed from the aircraft to recover the diver who was safely hoisted onboard.

Shortly thereafter, the Puerto Rico Police marine unit arrived on scene and embarked the operator from the disabled dive boat.

"Today's rescue highlights why it is so important to use the proper dive markers when diving offshore,” said Lt. Jason Carrillo, Air Station Borinquen MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircraft commander. “In this case, the diver’s orange buoy proved to be the only way we were able to spot him in the rough seas. Had he not been attached to it, we may never have seen him. It certainly saved his life."

The diver was transported to Air Station Borinquen in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, where he was released.



Good Samaritan rescues 3 near Arroyo City, Texas  Follow link

March 4, 2015 6:01 pm

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – A mariner located three overdue boaters Tuesday aground in their recreational boat in the Intracoastal Waterway a few miles south of the mouth of the Arroyo Colorado River.

The men, ages 73, 68 and 54, were located near mile marker 647.

“This was a successful multi-agency search and rescue response between the public and our federal, state, and local partners,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Ian Banks, the command duty officer on watch during the case.

Coast Guard search and rescue coordinators at Sector Corpus Christi organized a joint agency response Monday night after receiving the report of the overdue men aboard a 20-foot recreational boat at 10:19 p.m., during a dense fog advisory in the area.

Working with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Rio Hondo Police Department and area mariners who responded to the notification to be on the lookout, the good Samaritan located the men and assisted getting them free at 1:24 p.m. Tuesday. The wife of one of the men was also passing the word to people leaving the boat ramp to keep a lookout.

Coast Guard crews searched with 33-foot response boats from Station South Padre Island and an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Air Station Corpus Christi. Texas Parks and Wildlife crews also searched with a boat and the Rio Hondo Police Department located the owner’s vehicle at the Adolf Thomae boat ramp and left a note in case the missing men made it back.

Boaters are reminded to always check the weather forecast and prepare accordingly with appropriate personal protective equipment, always have enough life jackets for everyone aboard, have sufficient and appropriate medical supplies, always carry a marine VHF radio capable of calling for help and have a boating plan and communicate it with friends and family.



Coast Guard to convene General Court-Martial for Coast Guardsman accused of sexual misconduct  Follow link

March 4, 2015 6:01 pm

NEW ORLEANS – The Coast Guard Eighth District is scheduled to convene a General Court-Martial in New Orleans, Thursday, for a Coast Guardsman accused of misconduct, including sexual misconduct.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Leonel Hinojosa is accused of violating Article 92 (Dereliction of Duty), Article 107 (False Official Statement), Article 120 (Abusive Sexual Contact), Article 120c (Other Sexual Misconduct) and Article 128 (Assault Consummated by a Battery) of the Uniform Code of Military Justice for his conduct towards four fellow service members. Among the allegations, he is suspected of having made fraudulent representation that the sexual contact served a professional purpose, namely that he needed to perform a medical examination upon them.

Rear Admiral Kevin S. Cook, commander, Eighth District, referred Hinojosa’s case to General Court-Martial September 30, 2014, following an article 32 hearing, held on July 16-17, 2014, which is similar to a civilian grand jury hearing.

Hinojosa is a health services technician assigned to the Coast Guard Sector Corpus Christi. Hinojosa was administratively assigned to BASE New Orleans for the duration of the investigation and proceedings.

The Coast Guard is not releasing the names of the victims to protect their privacy.

The General Court-Martial will be open to the public. It will be held in room 741a on the 7th floor of the Hale Boggs Federal Building in New Orleans at 8 a.m. on Thursday, March 5, 2015. Members of the media or public interested in attending can contact the Eighth Coast Guard District External Affairs office at (504) 671-2020.



Sector Juneau monitoring vessels for non-compliance with Vessel Response Plan regulations  Follow link

March 4, 2015 4:40 pm

JUNEAU, Alaska — Coast Guard Captain of the Port Southeast Alaska is monitoring ongoing instances where tank vessels and non-tank vessels required to meet Title 33 Code of Federal Regulations Part 155, Subpart D and Subpart J, have been transiting within the boundaries of the Southeast Alaska COTP Zone without the required Vessel Response Plan and/or Geographic Specific Appendix.

Tank vessels 150 gross tons ITC and above and non-tank vessels 400 gross tons ITC and above operating within the Southeast Alaska COTP Zone or transiting to and from a port of the United States and through the Southeast Alaska COTP Zone are required to hold a valid VRP and a valid GSA for Southeast Alaska. The Southeast Alaska COTP Zone is defined in 33 CFR § 3.85-10 and extends to the outermost extent of the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone up to 230 miles beyond the territorial sea baseline.

Vessel owners and/or operators failing to comply with 33 CFR Part 155 Subpart D and Subpart J may be subject to a monetary penalty not to exceed the maximum penalty of up to $11,000 per violation, per day.

Currently, the only Oil Spill Removal Organization classified by the National Strike Force to meet the Worst Case Discharge Tier 1 planning standards, as required in 33 CFR Part 155 Subpart D and Subpart J for Southeast Alaska, is the Southeast Alaska Petroleum Response Organization. To obtain a valid GSA for Southeast Alaska, each vessel to which the requirements apply must have a contract or other approved means as defined in 33 CFR Part 155 Subpart D and Subpart J with SEAPRO and submit the contract or other approved means with the vessel's VRP to the Coast Guard VRP Help Desk.

For questions regarding compliance with these regulations, contact Lt. Ryan Butler, Chief of Inspections Division, at (907) 463-2477 or Ryan.Butler@uscg.mil.



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