November 12, 2007

We have no video photos yet, but here's an account:

2100 hrs on Friday 11/2/07 the ocean going tug Enterprise (179') towing a 400' fuel barge ran over its tow line fouling her starboard prop. This occurred 3 miles off of Key Biscayne. The tow line was pulling the tugs prop shaft out letting water into the engine room, if this wasn't bad enough the tug and barge where both dead in the water and drifting into shore (Key Biscayne).

The Capt of the tug had gathered his crew in the galley and they were minutes away from abandoning ship. Sea conditions were 7' to 8' with a northeast wind 25 to 30 knots.

Fireboat I arrived first on scene Coast guard arrived 20 minutes latter and stood by. The Tug was requesting a helo to hoist a crew member off of the Tug and onto the Barge to attempt to drop an anchor. Coast Guard was not in a position to do that.

Fireboat I positioned itself between the fuel barge and the Enterprise and powered into a bow in approach to the tug, timing the roll we were able to transfer a Tug crew member onboard Fireboat I and transfer him onto the Oil barge. The crew member was able to drop the barge's anchor and make it stick.

By the time it was over the barge was in 30' of water and less than a mile off of Cape Florida. Can you imagine a 400' oil barge hitting the reef off of Key Biscayne?

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