SIU-Crewed Crowley ATB Rescues Man in Florida


February 2013


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Noticing an injured man bobbing in Florida waters in January, Seafarers aboard Crowley Maritime Corp.’s articulated tug-barge (ATB) Achievement/ 650-8 began what would become a heroic rescue.


Emergency Coast Guard radio calls were issued as the ATB’s on-watch crew noticed the man near the base of the Sunshine Bridge in Tampa Bay. He was struggling to stay afloat on the port side of the vessel.


AB Alan Williams responded immediately, throwing a life ring to the man as Capt. Gus Cramer sounded the manoverboard alarm. The crew then prepared the fast rescue boat for deployment while the captain slowed the ATB down for a safe boat launch.


Manned by AB/Tankerman Travis Stringer and Second Mate John Crawford, the fast rescue boat headed toward the man, who had drifted nearly a mile away and was calling for help. The boat team braved windy conditions and rough chop while still managing to pull the badly injured man from the water. The entire process took only eight minutes.


“This crew did a phenomenal job working as a team to save this man’s life,” Cramer said. “From the guys on the bow, to the men on the response boat, to everyone who kept the vessel safe during the rescue … it was just a fantastic, total team effort. We did our jobs safely and saved a life in the process.”


The crew’s efforts were also aided by Cramer’s close work with Tampa Bay Harbor Pilot Mike Buffington. Together they helped the crew perform the slowdown procedure, remained in communication with the Coast Guard and ensured the ATB was not in danger by avoiding oncoming vessel traffic and safely keeping it within commercial shipping lanes.


Buffington said he was impressed by the training of the Seafarers aboard the vessel. Much of the crew received that training at the union-affiliated Paul Hall Center for Maritime Training and Education in Piney Point, Md.


“It is obvious from this event that the crew was well-trained and highly proficient in the execution of their duties,” Buffington said. “Each crew member … gave full devotion to the task at hand. I am convinced that with the prevailing weather and sea conditions that this individual would not have been recovered from the waters had it not been for the valiant efforts of the captain and crew.”


The crew’s heroics were also recognized by top Crowley officials.


“On behalf of everyone at Crowley, I want to congratulate this brave crew for putting their training to good use to perform the vital measures needed to save this man’s life,” said Rob Grune, Crowley’s senior vice president and general manager, petroleum services. “These crew members are true heroes and deserve to be recognized for their actions.”


Following the rescue, business returned to normal for the crew of the Achievement/650-8. It safely entered the bay to deliver a load of fuel in the Port of Tampa.



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