Safety Training Pays Off in Courage Incident


July 2015


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The professionalism and superb safety training of Seafarers, which includes (among other disciplines) comprehensive instruction in basic and advanced firefighting at the union–affiliated Paul Hall Center for Maritime Training and Education in Piney Point, Maryland, has once again yielded huge dividends.


All hands were safe following a fire aboard the car carrier MV Courage, according to news reports as well as communications from the ship. The mishap occurred June 2 as the vessel (carrying a mix of commercial and U.S. military vehicles) departed Bremerhaven, Germany, for its final destination of Baltimore. Bosun John Cedeno said that within seconds of the fire starting in a cargo hold, “We sounded the fire emergency alarm.


“The crew pulled together and did a remarkable job in executing each role,” Cedeno continued in a message to the Seafarers LOG. “The fire team (Cedeno, AB Slawomir Tlalka, Oiler Justin Van Pelt and Oiler Andrew Delutis) were suited and ready, and our years of training definitely were put to the test. Everyone did an outstanding job.”


All four of those SIU mariners have completed firefighting training at the Paul Hall Center – and in fact the entire SIU crew of the Courage has taken at least one safety course at the southern Maryland facility. They also regularly complete shipboard safety drills, and the bosun said the exercises paid off during this incident.


In addition to the Seafarers who comprised the fire team, the Courage crew also consisted of the following members: ABs Robert Ameel and Arthur Quinney, Ordinary Seamen Billy Hanbury and Rudolph Jackson, Oiler Rickey Yancey, Steward/Baker Thomas Smith, Chief Cook Johnny Palencia, SA Delmis Ventura, and Apprentice Tre Hill. The Courage is operated by TOTE Services for American Roll-On/Roll-Off Carrier.


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