USCG Rescues Crew Members of Polar Wind Tug

The United States Coast Guard (USCG) has issued a news release stating that it has rescued five crew members from the tug vessel Polar Wind. The tug apparently ran aground and started taking on water on Tuesday, November 13, 2012 near the opening of Pavlof Bay.

The weather at the time was six to eight foot seas and winds of 40 miles per hour. The Polar Wind is a 78 foot vessel, which was carrying nearly 19,000 gallons of fuel and the barge was reportedly carrying 5,000 gallons of fuel and 90 refrigerated cargo containers.

Three crew members were safely hoisted from the tug on early Wednesday morning by a Coast Guard helicopter crew that transported them to safety. The Dolphin helicopter was launched from the USCG cutter Sherman. A USCG rescue swimmer stayed with the other two crew members until another helicopter arrived. It then hoisted the remaining two crew members and took them to Cold Bay.

Captain Paul Mehler, III, Commander of the USCG Sector Anchorage, said the safe rescue mission emphasized importance continued presence in the Bering Sea and the Northern Pacific.

Following the rescue, the Coast Guard began working with the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation to respond to any potential pollution hazard from the situation. The tug and barge are to be salvaged by Global Diving and Salvage.

Working as a crew member on a tug boat is a dangerous job. The powerful winches are huge and the failure of wire rope can result in devastating injuries to crew members on deck, if that happens. The multitude of injuries sustained and lives lost by seamen on tugs and barges is well documented.

Tug vessel crew members and barge workers in the Pacific Northwest are entitled to have a safe place to work, the right to not work excessive hours and the right to a reasonable rate of maintenance if they are injured.

If you or someone you know have suffered injuries or lost loved ones because of accidents on a tug boat or a barge, you need to talk to an experienced Seattle Maritime attorney.

Seattle Maritime Attorneys John Merriam and Gordon Webb have nearly 50 years of experience in handling maritime cases, including representing tug and barge workers. Having worked on the water themselves for over 15 years, they have first-hand knowledge of what you are going through.

Contact us through our website or call our toll free number at 877.800.1007 to schedule an appointment to discuss your situation. We have offices in Seattle and Bellevue. Evening and weekend appointments are possible, for your convenience.

As always, you will never owe us a fee unless we obtain a settlement for you.

Other Resources:

Coast Guard Saves 5 People, Establishes Unified Command, November 14, 2012

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