Coast Guard completes marine investigation in Dutch Harbor, Alaska

Coast Guard Alaska News
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Coast Guard investigators finished a one month investigation into the operation of the cargo vessel Bangkok Bridge in Dutch Harbor Wednesday.

Two investigators, one from Coast Guard Sector Anchorage and one from Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Dutch Harbor, assessed a $75,000 penalty for failure to report a hazardous condition.

The investigation began after MSD Dutch Harbor personnel received a report of a distressed deep draft vessel in Unimak Pass, a highly trafficked pass for commercial vessels on the Aleutian Chain. After further review of local Automated Identification Systems, Coast Guard personnel discovered that the Bangkok Bridge was near the eastern shipping lane, with a track line showing a drift pattern for several hours.

MSD Dutch Harbor personnel made contact with the vessel’s crew to determine the cause and severity of their casualty. The Bangkok Bridge crew reportedly experienced failure of the main engine – an occurrence that must be reported under federal law – and did not report the failure to the Coast Guard for more than 10 hours. Specifically, the vessel’s crew did not provide the immediate notice of marine casualty or provide the notice of a hazardous condition per the Code of Federal Regulations.

“The Coast Guard is committed to ensuring the safety of our waterways, and enforcing the regulations that require mariners to report hazardous conditions and marine casualties is part of that mission,” said Capt. Paul Mehler III, captain of the port, Western Alaska. “With the remote location of the vessel and the limited response assets for a vessel of this size, the late report of this magnitude could have resulted in a much worse scenario.”

Upon successful repairs to the vessel’s main engine in Dutch Harbor, the crew was cleared to continue their voyage.

The Bangkok Bridge is an 874-foot, Panamanian-flagged cargo vessel.

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