Coast Guard assists disabled ocean freighter off Cape Cod

The HC-130 Hercules is a long-range surveillance and transport, fixed-wing aircraft that is used to perform search and rescue, enforcement of laws and treaties including illegal drug interdiction, marine environmental protection, military readiness, and International Ice Patrol missions, as well as cargo and personnel transport. USCG photo by BROWN, TELFAIR H. PA1

USCG C-130 File Photo

BOSTON – The Coast Guard is assisting a disabled and adrift 432-foot ocean freighter with nine people on board 70 miles southeast of Cape Cod, Mass today, Feb. 26, 2011.

The motor vessel Dintelborg, enroute from the Netherlands to Willington, Va., lost propulsion when a small fire broke out on the bridge. The fire has been extinguished, and there are no reports of any injuries, but the ship is adrift without power in 16-foot seas and has no ship to shore communications. Winds are 20 knots.

A Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod, Mass. MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter launched and arrived on scene at 2:52 a.m. and established contact with the crew of the freighter, who are using a hand-held radio to communicate.

A Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules aircraft launched from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C. has relieved the helicopter, and is serving as a communications platform to relay messages from the disabled ship to rescue coordinators on shore. An Air Station Cape Cod HU-25 falcon jet will relieve the Hercules later today.

The Tug Rown Mcallister from New Bedford, Mass. is enroute to the ship and plans to tow it to Providence, R.I.

The Coast Guard Cutter Seneca, a Boston-based 270-foot medium endurance cutter diverted while on patrol and is expected to arrive on scene at about 2:30 p.m. today.

Watch standers in the First District Command Center in Boston first became aware of the problem when a signal from the freighter’s emergency position indicating radio beacon was detected at 1:13 a.m. Radio calls to the ship were unanswered and it wasn’t until the helicopter arrived on scene that contact was established.

The cause of the fire is unknown and the Coast Guard is investigating.

“We weren’t sure of the nature of distress until the helicopter arrived on scene,” said Lt. Adam Schmid from the First District Command Center in Boston. “The ship is seaworthy and the good news is none of the crew have been hurt. We are working now with the ship to arrange a tow and get the ship to port safely.”

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