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Recent Updates for U.S. Coast Guard Digital Newsroom

UPDATE/VIDEO: Coast Guard helicopter crew uses rotor wash to assist 2 fishermen surrounded by ice off Holland, Michigan  Follow link

March 13, 2016 8:00 am

Click on image to watch the video

EDITOR'S NOTE: Click on above image to view video

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. – A Coast Guard helicopter crew from Air Station Traverse City, Michigan used the rotor wash from their aircraft to help clear a path for two fishermen who were pushed offshore aboard their 16-foot boat by wind and ice, and then became surrounded by the ice off Holland, Saturday.

The Coast Guard is not releasing the names of the individuals.

Shortly before 10 a.m., a Watchstander at Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan in Milwaukee received a call from Ottawa County Dispatch about two fishermen in distress on Lake Michigan about a mile and a half offshore. The two men had been fishing near the mouth of Lake Macatawa when they quickly became beset in ice being moved by strong southwest winds

The Watchstander directed the launch of a boat crew from Coast Guard Station Grand Haven aboard a 47-foot response boat, and an aircrew aboard a Dolphin helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City. Additionally, the officer-in-charge of Coast Guard Station Holland responded shoreside to maintain visual contact with the fishermen until the other Coast Guard personnel and assets arrived on scene.

The boat crew transited south on Lake Michigan from Grand Haven for about 15 miles before they were hindered by the ice about six miles from the fishermen and could not maneuver any closer.

The aircrew arrived overhead at about 11 a.m. to find the fishermen and their 16-foot boat surrounded by a vast ice shelf consisting of large chunks of ice, some 20-30 feet wide and two-feet thick. Due to the ice coverage, the fishermen had no way to get back to shore.

After deciding against hoisting the men up into the helicopter because of a potential to capsize the small boat with the helicopter’s rotor wash, the aircrew lowered a radio down to the fishermen to communicate another plan of action. It was then that the aircrew saw the ice beginning to part and break up from the rotor wash. The aircrew continued to hover between 50-80 feet above the ice for about 45 minutes, maneuvering the craft so that the rotor wash could create an open path for the fisherman to finally head to shore.

“This was definitely the most out-of-the-box case I’ve been involved with.” said Lt. Rocco Franco, one of the pilots of the aircrew. “It’s not very often that our helicopter is used an ice breaker.”

The fishermen made their way safely back to shore where they were met by Chief Petty Officer Eli Paquette, officer-in-charge of Coast Guard Station Holland. By this time, the men and their small fishing boat had been taken almost two miles north from where they began fishing.

Both men were in good condition and were not in need of any medical condition.

The Coast Guard reminds everyone that there is still a presence of ice on Lake Michigan that can easily be blown in different directions by the wind. As a result, people on the water can find themselves in life-threatening situations very quickly. Those who must venture out onto the water should check the weather conditions, particularly the wind speed and direction, dress for the water temperature and not the air temperature, and always were a life jacket.


February 6, 2016 12:46 pm

LOS ANGELES – At 9:15 a.m. the Coast Guard has suspended active search efforts regarding the San Pedro aircraft incident that occurred in the late afternoon on Friday, Feb. 5, 2016.

The Coast Guard had two 87-foot patrol boats, Cutters Narwahl and Blackfin, that conducted search patterns throughout the night until 9:15 a.m. Saturday morning.

A first light search was conducted at 6:45 a.m. Saturday morning by an MH-65D Dolphin Helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Los Angeles.

The rescue operation has transitioned to a recovery operation with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department as the lead agency. The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department plans to conduct diving and sonar operations to locate wreckage.

The Coast Guard safety zone surrounding all recovery operations remains in effect until further notice. All traffic that normally transiting through Angels Gate should re-route and enter and depart from the Queens Gate entrance.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the incident.

The Joint Information Center has been dissolved.

For all future updates and public information please contact the Los Angeles Sheriffs Information Bureau at (213) 229-1700.

UPDATE: Unified Command responds to Potomac River oil sheen  Follow link

February 6, 2016 12:25 pm

BALTIMORE — The Unified Command continues its search for the source of oil sheens Saturday in the Potomac River near Arlington, Virginia.

“Responders have been on scene since daybreak and noticed the sheens have mostly dissipated except for a few pockets, which are protected from the elements,” said Lt. David Ruhlig, the Unified Command operations section chief. “Although the sheen covered such a large span of water, the amount was so small it has been difficult to collect any. Even at the outfall, the sorbent pads and boom in fact had trapped mainly dirt,” added Ruhlig.

Oil recovered by Coast Guard investigators has been sent to the Coast Guard Marine Safety Laboratory for analysis.

“The Coast Guard is continuing to actively monitor the response, while Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research continues to search for affected fowl for cleaning,” said Ruhlig. “The Unified Command will continue to trace the different sources to the outfall at Roaches Run Waterfowl Sanctuary in an attempt to determine if there is a responsible party or parties.”

Reports of impacted wildlife or oil should be made to the Office of Unified Communications by dialing 311.

Social Media:



@USCGMidAtlantic (DOEE) (USCG)


Update: Tug Challenger Removal, Tug Prepped For Hoist  Follow link

February 6, 2016 12:55 am

Press Release 3
CONTACT: 907-463-2835, 907-957-1300

JUNEAU, Alaska –Initial preparations for removing Tug Challenger from Gastineau Channel were completed today.

Dive operations are temporarily suspended and expected to resume on February 11.

In the meantime, Southeast Alaska Lighterage will continue to monitor the site for any pollution or release of debris from the tug. Global Salvage and Diving, Inc will return to install four one- ton slings currently en route from Seattle.

“We are very pleased with the progress made during the first week of removal operations,” said Cmdr. Patrick Hilbert, US Coast Guard Incident Commander. “The Unified Command will continue to prepare for the next phase, ensuring all available safety and environmental protection measures are implemented.”

For more information on the Tug Challenger Removal, please contact the Joint Information Center at 907-463-2835 or visit the Sector Juneau Facebook page at:

UPDATE: The unified command continues search efforts for aircraft off San Pedro  Follow link

February 5, 2016 11:39 pm

LOS ANGELES – The unified command is continuing the search effort concerning the aircraft incident off San Pedro.

The search area has been expanded to include approximately 200 sq. miles.

Several assets have been deployed to assist in the area including the Coast Guard Cutter Blackfin and Coast Guard Cutter Narwahl. Baywatch Cabrillo and Long Beach Fire will remain onscene to assist. Coast Guard Station Los Angeles/ Long Beach and Los Angeles Port Police will remain onscene to enforce a safety zone around the search area.

Los Angeles Harbor will continue to remain closed to all vessel traffic.

Vessels seeking entrance to the Los Angeles Harbor are being directed to the Long Beach Queens Gate entrance.

For further information or guidance please contact the Joint Information Center at (310)521-3628

UPDATE: The Unified Command to hold press conference regarding San Pedro aircraft incident  Follow link

February 5, 2016 11:33 pm

LOS ANGELES – The Unified Command will be holding a press conference regarding the aircraft incident off San Pedro.

WHO: Unified Command

WHAT: Press conference regarding updated information on San Pedro

WHERE: Coast Guard Base Los Angeles/ Long Beach

1001 S. Seaside Ave.

San Pedro, CA 90740

WHEN: 9 p.m.

Media planning to attend must bring credentials and identification.

For further information or guidance please contact the Joint Information Center at (310)521-3628

UPDATE: Unified Command has been established for San Pedro aircraft incident  Follow link

February 5, 2016 11:29 pm

LOS ANGELES – A unified Command has been established in response to the aircraft collision off San Pedro.

Members of the Unified Command will include Coast Guard, Los Angeles County Sherrifs and Los Angeles County Fire Department.

A joint Information center has been established at Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles/ Long Beach.

For further information please contact the Joint Information Center at (310)521-3628.

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