Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton Arctic Patrol – Aug. 29, 2008

Journal Entry – Aug. 29, 2008 – Beaufort Ocean

The Coast Guard is extending High Endurance cutter operations from the Bering Sea into the Chukchi Sea, the Beaufort Sea, and the Arctic Ocean. This operation supports the Department of Homeland Security’s efforts to extend maritime safety and security to the Arctic region in the face of retreating polar sea ice. The Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton will be the lead cutter in the United States’ push to extend security to U.S. Arctic waters. As part of this historic operation, the Hamilton is providing daily journal entries.

Position: Beaufort Ocean, 71-22.8N, 156-45.5W; 3 NM North of Point Barrow

Weather: Winds: NE 10kts. Temp: 40 F. Sea Temp: 40 F. Seas/Swells: 1 foot.

Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton Arctic Patrol Aug 29, 2008.

Crew Journal:

Today we did a SAREX in the Artic Ocean with USCGC SPAR. All of the following was simulated for the SAREX; The SPAR was acting as the Cruise Ship, Spirit of the Spar. The cruise ship struck an iceberg which injured two people, sent one overboard, and started to flood out a compartment. Hamilton launched the Helo to Medivac injured people off the SPAR, one small boat to retrieve the person that fell over board, and the second small boat to send over the Rescue and Assist Team (R&A Team) to dewater a compartment that was flooding. I am the On Scene Leader (OSL) of the R&A Team. When we set the R&A Billets I gathered up my team which consisted of MK3 Ward, MK3 Dale, MK3 Ybanez, and DC3 Walden. We quickly dressed out in our cold weather gear and collected our equipment to fight flooding. I went to the bridge to get briefed on the situation. After the brief, the R&A Team and I went to the Starboard main deck to board the small boat (HAM I) and proceed to the SPAR. Once we got on scene, I was the first one to embark onto the SPAR, so I could assess the situation. While I was talking to the crew of the Spar to get a better handle on what was going on, my team was also boarding the vessel to bring our gear onboard. After my short brief with the crew of the SPAR we decided to use their pumps to dewater the space because it was an internal compartment with no way to get the exhaust gases from our pump outside. We used a P-100, rigged with extensions for the exhaust, and a peri-jet eductor to dewater the space. Once the water was low enough in the space, my team entered the space and plugged the hole that made from the collision with the iceberg. Once the hole was plugged and the space was de-watered, we secured form the drill. The crew of the SPAR was all dressed out in civilian clothes which added to the realness of the situation. They were really pleased with how well we responded to the circumstances. They also gave us a quick tour of their ship and then we boarded HAM I and rode back to the Hamilton. Overall, it was a really neat experience and great training. Hopefully now that the Coast Guard is going to be patrolling the Artic Ocean that we won’t need to respond to a real case like this, but if we do, I know that the R&A Team and the rest of the Hamilton crew will be able to respond quickly and save the lives on the other ship and the ship itself.

DC2 John Eister R&A Team OSL
Beaufort Ocean71-22.8N, 156-45.5W; 3 NM North of Point Barrow

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