Coast Guard assists damaged freighter

BOSTON – The Coast Guard is assisting a damaged freight vessel today about 150 miles southeast of Cape Cod, Mass., after the vessel’s master requested permission to enter Boston to repair damage sustained during a storm.

Coast Guard Sector Boston received the call around 5 p.m., Wednesday, from the vessel RSCL Express, a 350-foot vessel registered in the Pacific Marshall Islands. The Coast Guard Cutter Dependable, a 210-foot cutter from Cape May, N.J., on a routine patrol in the area was diverted and headed toward the vessel’s location.

The RSCL Express, loaded with 4,300 tons of wood pulp, reported two 15-centimeter holes in its hull approximately 10 feet above the waterline. The holes were caused by the anchor striking the hull during severe weather. The vessel’s operator also reported damage to the anchor windlass and backup fire pump. The main firefighting system is still operational. The crew reported there was some initial flooding, but it is minor and under control.

Crewmembers from the Dependable boarded the RSCL Express to confirm that the vessel was safe to transit and offer assistance to the vessel, which was determined not to be needed. The Dependable is escorting the vessel toward the Port of Boston. A Falcon jet crew from Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod also responded.

The Coast Guard is working closely with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, MASSPORT, Boston Harbor Police and the Boston Fire Department.

“The safety of life at sea is our main priority,” said Capt. Gail Kulisch, the Captain of the Port of Boston. “We are taking steps to ensure this vessel can make its necessary repairs while ensuring its safe arrival to the port.”

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