Coast Guard, port partners respond to fire aboard vessel inbound to New York

The 270-foot medium endurance Coast Guard Cutter Seneca sits moored at Coast Guard Integrated Support Command in Boston as the sun rises over the city May 16, 2008. The Seneca and its namesake cutter are both rich with maritime history. The original Revenue Cutter Seneca was the first cutter to engage in official ice patrol duties after the RMS Titanic sank in 1912. Shortly thereafter, Seneca was called on to protect convoys from submarine attacks between Gibraltar and Great Britain in World War I. Today, the Seneca, homeported in Boston, continues to carry out law enforcement, search and rescue, alien migration interdiction, and homeland security missions. U.S. Coast Guard Photo by Petty Officer Connie Terrell

Coast Guard Cutter Seneca file photo by Petty Office Connie Terrell

NEW YORK – The Coast Guard, FDNY, NYPD, and the ship’s owners are working together to extinguish a fire aboard the Motor Vessel Grey Shark at Homeport Pier in Staten Island, New York, Wednesday.

The Motor Vessel Grey Shark, a 360-foot Panamanian-flagged roll-on/roll-off vessel departed New York on March 11, 2015, bound for the Caribbean Sea with 13 crewmembers aboard.

On Saturday, one of the vessel’s two engines had ceased to operate, causing the master of the ship to make the decision to return to New York for repairs.

On Sunday, at approximately 4 p.m., the vessel experienced difficulty with its second engine that caused a fire to break out the cargo spaces. Power was subsequently restored to one of the vessel’s engines and no injuries have been reported. The fire was contained by the on-board firefighting system but has continued to smolder since the initial ignition.

The Coast Guard Cutter Seneca arrived on scene to provide assistance alongside a commercial tug from McAllister Towing. By the early morning on Monday, both the Seneca crew and the tug were on scene, approximately 180 miles southeast of Cape May, New Jersey.

A tow was rigged for the Grey Shark so the damaged vessel could be returned to New York for inspection. A second tug was also dispatched to assist in the tow.

Cutter Seneca crewmembers escorted the vessels to a position outside the harbor near Ambrose Light at approximately 9 p.m.

The Cutter Seneca crewmembers escorted the vessels to Gravesend Bay, near Coney Island, New York where a safety zone was established around the vessel and enforcement was provided by NYPD marine units and Coast Guard Sector New York personnel.

On Wednesday morning, the Grey Shark was brought to Homeport Pier in Staten Island so that FDNY crews could board the vessel and control the smoldering fire. The Grey Shark moved from Gravesend Bay, under Coast Guard, FDNY, NYPD, and tug escort, arriving at Homeport Pier at approximately 1:30 p.m.

FDNY crews immediately began operations to assess and address any remaining fires on board the vessel.

A 150-yard safety zone on the land and in the water surrounding both the vessel and Homeport Pier has been established and will be strictly enforced by the Coast Guard and NYPD.

Once FDNY officials have declared the fire to be completely extinguished, the investigation into the cause of both the fire and the loss of engine power will begin.

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