Coast Guard to Investigate Miss Calabash II Marine Casualty

CALABASH, N.C. – The Coast Guard initiated a formal investigation into the marine casualty aboard the motor vessel Miss Calabash II Friday to determine what caused the fire and examine the Coast Guard’s vessel inspection methods and procedures implemented for this vessel. 

The Miss Calabash II caught fire while at sea off the South Carolina coast Wednesday, forcing the 23 passengers and three crewmembers to abandon ship. All 26 people were recovered from the water quickly and in good condition by two nearby good Samaritan vessels.     

Rear Adm. Steve Branham, Seventh Coast Guard District commander, ordered a District Formal Investigation because the casualty involved the loss of a Coast Guard inspected vessel, which is consistent with Coast Guard policy. 

A District Formal Investigation consists of a Coast Guard investigating officer who will receive evidence and testimony using formal rules and procedures. Since the Miss Calabash II was a Coast Guard inspected vessel, the investigation will review all aspects of the marine casualty including:

(1) the cause of the accident
(2) whether there is evidence that any failure of material or equipment was involved or contributed to the casualty
(3) whether there is evidence that any act of misconduct, inattention to duty, negligence, or willful violation of the law on the part of any licensed or certificated person contributed to the casualty
(4) whether there is evidence that any Coast Guard or other government agency personnel caused or contributed to the casualty
(5) whether the accident should be further investigated by a Marine Board of Investigation

The Investigating Officer is a senior member of the Seventh Coast Guard District prevention division, who will be assisted by investigating officers from Coast Guard Sector Charleston, S.C., and marine inspection personnel from the Fifth Coast Guard District in Portsmouth, Va. 

The Coast Guard immediately notified the National Transportation Safety Board regarding the loss of this vessel.  The NTSB declined to conduct an independent investigation, however they did provide input for the investigating officer. 

The District Formal Investigation is expected to last several weeks.   

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  1. George Miller says:

    I was on the miss Calabash II 1 week prior to her demise. We were in 15 foot swells, and didn’t believe we should have been out that day. The bilge pumps were working overtime, and I was praying she didn’t stall. I would seriously question allowing Manos back in the position of chartering fishing trips. Prior to the trip he said there were no life jackets due to diesel prices. We knew he was kidding, but he never once stressed any safety concerns. He never did a head count, and someone could have easily been lost that day. I just wanted to put my 2 cents in.


  2. Jeffrey P. Berry says:

    I was out on the Safari IV a scuba dive charter the morning this happened. After I surfaced from my first dive I could hear all the chatter of this incident on the boats radio and I did hear some one saying that this particular boat had been leaking about two gallons of oil for several days. I didn’t know if this had been mention by anyone else yet but thought it to be noteworthy to any ongoing investigation in this matter.

  3. Bruno M. Ayala says:


    My Church group (The Living Church of God) is considering hiring out the Calabash Fishing Fleet for a Private charter. Regarding the Miss Calabash II Marine Casualty incident, I would like to request any additional information which would be available. Which would be beneficial to our decision making process.

    Thank you.

    I can be reached by email at:

    Warm Regards and God Bless all your efforts,

    ICN –

    Bruno –

  4. terrie says:

    saw that a hearing was to occur on Sept 02nd by Coast Guard, what was decided- any update I can read. My 6′ 190lb son was aboard and had to use a child size preserver for the hour he was in the water.