Coast Guard holds 41st anniversary memorial of Cutter Blackthorn collision

A Coast Guardsman lays a rose in front of the Coast Guard Cutter Blackthorn memorial during the ceremony for the 41st anniversary of the ship's sinking, Jan. 28, 2021 in St. Petersburg. The Blackthorn sank after colliding with the tanker Capricorn near the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, in St. Petersburg, Jan. 28, 1980. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Erik Villa Rodriguez.)

A Coast Guardsman lays a rose in front of the Coast Guard Cutter Blackthorn memorial during the ceremony for the 41st anniversary of the ship’s sinking, Jan. 28, 2021 in St. Petersburg.  (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Erik Villa Rodriguez.)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Coast Guard held a memorial service for the Coast Guard Cutter Blackthorn collision at the Blackthorn Memorial site in St. Petersburg, Florida Thursday.

The memorial marked the 41st anniversary of the Blackthorn colliding with the tanker vessel Capricorn near the Sunshine Skyway Bridge on Jan. 28, 1980, resulting in the deaths of 23 of the 50 Blackthorn crewmembers.

The ceremony included a fly over by Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, wreath laying, an honor platoon representing each Blackthorn victim, laying of roses, gun salute, and presiding official comments from Rear Adm. Eric Jones, Commanding Officer of the Seventh Coast Guard District.

“It’s an honor to be able to hold this event each year in remembrance of our lost shipmates,” said Capt. Matthew Thompson, Commanding Officer of Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg. “It’s important that we pay tribute to them not only in ceremony, but in our continued efforts of properly training our Coast Guardsmen to provide the public with the best service possible on our nation’s waters.”

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