Coast Guard investigates incident on Calcasieu River Ship Channel

LAKE CHARLES, Louisiana — Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Lake Charles is conducting a Marine Casualty Investigation in collaboration with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Law Enforcement Division to determine the cause of Wednesday’s vessel allision with a dredge pipeline operating on the Calcasieu River Ship Channel near Hackberry, La.

The incident resulted in one loss of life and one injury.

The Coast Guard closed the Calcasieu River Ship Channel, from two miles south of lighted aid 78 to two miles north of lighted aid 80, for six hours to support search and rescue operations. Search efforts were conducted collaboratively by the Coast Guard, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Law Enforcement Division, and Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office Marine Enforcement Unit.

“The Coast Guard strongly encourages the Southwest Louisiana boating community to exercise caution when transiting near areas where dredging operations are taking place,” said Lt. William Hickey, Marine Safety Unit Lake Charles prevention department chief. “Boaters should be on the lookout for potential hazards and operate at a speed that allows them to detect and avoid hazards safely.”

The Coast Guard also reminds vessel operators to have wearable Coast Guard approved personal flotation devices (PFD) for each person onboard and recommends everyone to wear a life jacket while aboard an operating vessel. The Coast Guard, and its partner agencies, plan to have an increased presence on the water during the 4th of July weekend to promote safe and enjoyable boating practices.

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