Gold Ribbon Banner
Thursday, July 18, 2019
Marine Electric

The loss of the bulk carrier Marine Electric off the coast of Virginia on Feb 12, 1983, with just three survivors from her crew of 34, led to major changes being brought in by the US Coast Guard. This is the story of the tragedy from a special article by Petty Officer 2nd. Class Corinne Zilnicki, of the Coast Guard.

On the night of Feb 11- 12, 1983, the US bulk carrier Marine Electric headed northwards on her way from Hampton Roads to Boston in a fierce winter storm.

After the watch changed, the conditions worsened. The 34 crew had been battling 25ft waves for hours and the bow had bucked and dipped as usual but now it seemed only to dip. The entire foredeck was covered in six feet of water.

Some 30 miles off Virginia’s eastern shore at 0230, her Master, Captain Phillip Corl and the Chief Mate Robert Cusick agreed that the bow was settling. They were taking on too much water. At 0251, Capt Corl made the first radio distress call to the Coast Guard: “I seem to be taking on water forward. We need someone to come out and give us some assistance, if possible.”

By the time assistance arrived, the Marine Electric had listed, rolled violently to starboard and capsized. Most of the crew were hurled into the 37 deg water.

The Chief Mate surfaced, and spotted a partially-submerged lifeboat nearby. Some 30 minutes later, he pulled himself into the swamped lifeboat and started thrashing his legs to stay warm. He said: “I was continually yelling out ‘Lifeboat here’. Then I waited and prayed for daylight to come.”

The Coast Guard had sent a HH-3F Pelican helicopter from Air Station Elizabeth City, North Carolina, and directed several cutters to the ship’s position, but the weather conditions slowed their progress.

The Naval Air Station Oceana had to recall available personnel before launching a US Navy helicopter. The crew included rescue swimmer Petty Officer 2nd Class James McCann.

The Coast Guard helicopter was the first to arrive at 0520 and found a blinking sea of strobe lights, empty lifeboats and bodies in the water. The Navy helicopter lowered PO McCann who searched through the oil-slicked waves for survivors and recovered five unresponsive seamen before he was incapacitated by hypothermia.

The crew of the Coast Guard helicopter in the southern end of the search area, discovered Paul Dewey, alone in a liferaft. He clambered into the rescue basket and was hoisted up, then about 30 yards away, the crew saw the Third Mate Eugene Kelly clinging to a lifebelt and used the basket to retrieve him.

More on this and other news in Sea Breezes Magazine - April 2019 Issue
Click here to subscribe

Subscribe Graphic

Latest Issue - Look Inside!

Boudicca

Most Popular

  • Oil Leak Survey of WWII British Tanker Wreck +

  • Saint Brandan - "Vital Spark of the South Atlantic" +

  • Six LNG Carriers Join BP Fleet +

  • Tragedy of the “Stellar Daisy” +

  • Museum Says ‘it’ is the End of the Line for ‘Her’ +

  • 1
  • 2

Latest Products

Maritime Log

  • Crowds Tribute to the Last Tyne +

    Annie Blaker The last of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution’s famous Tyne class lifeboats was launched for the last time at her Read More
  • Clyde’s Vital Role in Onshore Windfarm +

    Clydeport Clydeport has played a vital role in the building of the UK’s largest onshore windfarm on Eaglesham Moor, just 20 Read More
  • Museum Says ‘it’ is the End of the Line for ‘Her’ +

    Scottish Maritime Museum The Scottish Maritime Museum, at Irvine, has abandon hundreds of years of maritime history and tradition and decided to stop Read More
  • Six LNG Carriers Join BP Fleet +

    BP Partnership Class Six new 173,400 cu m capacity LNG carriers have joined the fleet of BP Shipping, of London. Read More
  • Warehouse Boosts Import of Forest Products +

    Freight A new £17mn warehouse is to be built at Liverpool by the national logistics provider Jenkins which specialises in paper, Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

North America

  • Changes in Tolls for Using Panama Canal +

    MSC Pohlin The Panama Canal plans to modify its tolls structure for all types of ships “to better serve the global maritime Read More
  • Largest LNG Carrier Sails From West to East +

    Al Safliya The largest LNG tanker to use the Panama Canal since it was expanded less that three years ago passed through Read More
  • Oil Leak Survey of WWII British Tanker Wreck +

    Coimbra Wreck The US Coast Guard were evaluating a plan to remove oil from a tanker that was sunk in the Second Read More
  • Line Sells Long Beach Container Terminal +

    Long Beach Container Terminal The Hong Kong shipping group Orient Overseas (International) Ltd (OOIL) is selling its Long Beach Container Terminal, California, to a Read More
  • Terminal to be Extended After Record Year +

    Viau Montreal The Viau container terminal at Montreal, Canada, is to be expanded so that it can handle 600,000 teu a year. Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Asia-Pacific

  • “Prelude” Makes its Debut With First LNG Cargo +

    Prelude The first shipment of liquefied natural gas (LNG) has left Shell’s floating LNG facility Prelude some 475kms north-east of Broome Read More
  • Special Navigating System to be Fitted to VLCCs +

    AR Nav Following two-ship trials, augmented reality (AR) navigation systems are to be installed on 21 very large crude oil carriers (VLCCs) Read More
  • Work Starts on Hybrid Series +

    Grimaldi Hybrid In China, construction has started at the Jinling Shipyard on the first of the Grimaldi Group’s new hybrid roll-on, roll-off Read More
  • Tragedy of the “Stellar Daisy” +

    Stellar Daisy The very large ore carrier Stellar Daisy, 266,141dwt, was owned by Polaris Shipping, of Seoul, South Korea, and had been Read More
  • Line’s Special Offer to Help Clean Up the Seas +

    The Ocean Cleanup The Singapore shipping company APL is providing free shipping for the non-profit Ocean Cleanup organisation that is working to develop Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Naval Focus

  • Fourth Dreadnought Named HMS “King George VI” +

    Dreadnought Class UK News The fourth member of the new Dreadnought class of nuclear powered ballistic missile submarines will bear the name Read More
  • US Navy Orders Flight II Landing Platform Dock +

    LDP30 American News The contract for the construction of LPD30, the first Flight II Landing Platform Dock of the San Antonio Read More
  • US Navy Seeks Faster Ship Delivery +

    FFGX Rendering American News The future frigate program for the US Navy is getting fully underway and some idea of the urgency Read More
  • HMS “Dragon” in £75 Million Narcotics Seizure +

    HMS Dragon British News Whilst on patrol in the Gulf, the Type 45 destroyer HMS Dragon seized and destroyed ten tonnes of Read More
  • New Generation of Enterprise Confirmed +

    USS Enterprise American News On 31 January, the US Department of Defense announced the awarding of a block buy contract with Huntington Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Ferry World

  • Oscar Goes to Italy +

    Oscar Wilde Irish Continental Group has entered into a bareboat hire purchase agreement for the sale of its 1987-built Oscar Wilde to Read More
  • CalMac Heritage +

    Columba I include a fine poster and artist’s image of the famed Macbrayne paddler Columba. Read More
  • Russian Adventure +

    Ocean Adventurer To the North East Coast and arriving at Aberdeen for the first time for many months, I witnessed a passenger Read More
  • Further Delay for LNG Powered Glen Sannox +

    Glen Sannox The drama surrounding the much delayed new ferries for Caledonian MacBrayne continues to rumble on with the latest, not unsurprising, Read More
  • Pentland Ferries Loses Appeal +

    Hamnavoe Scotland’s Pentland Ferries has lost its appeal against Scottish government state aid for ferry services between the mainland and the Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Sail Review/Coastal Comment

  • The Green Band of Marstal +

    Bessie Ellen The Danish Maritime Museum had the schooner Bonavista built on the island of Aero at Marstal and this year they Read More
  • Norweigan National Day +

    Thorodd I was in Montrose on the Norwegian National Day, 17 May, when its independent constitution from Sweden was confirmed in Read More
  • Port of Aberdeen Fifty Years On +

    Aberdeen Harbour Extension Project When I first arrived in Aberdeen in 1968, I couldn’t believe my luck. Read More
  • Thames Tributary Barges +

    Lady of the Lea Most of the rivers flowing into the Thames had their own barge type. Read More
  • Dry Rot and Dry Dock +

    HMS Victory For some time Victory, the 110gun ship of the line, has had trouble with dry rot and is in danger Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

From the Lookout

  • Lifeline Cash for “Waverley” Agreed +

    Waverley The Paddle Steamer Preservation Society (PSPS) has announced that it will provide immediate funding to support efforts to “Save The Read More
  • Viking Glory Celebrates Keel Laying +

    Front Altair The construction of Viking Glory is proceeding on schedule. Read More
  • The Majestic River Rhine +

    MS Charles Dickens In September of this year, my wife and I enjoyed a wonderful Riviera Travel river cruise on the majestic River Read More
  • What Next in the US-Iran Saga? +

    Front Altair Over the last year, the escalating trade war between the US and China has created many headlines, not least in Read More
  • Modus Expands Fleet of Hybrid Autonomous Vehicles +

    Saab Seaeye Modus has placed an order with Saab Seaeye for the next vehicle in its Hybrid Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (HAU V) Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Cruise News/Superyacht News

  • Every Ash Cloud Has A Silver Lining +

    The ash cloud crisis continues to cause uncertainty as we see sporadic closures of airspace and cancelled flights, and this Read More
  • Damen Group Superyachts +

    Amels With 25 projects underway, business is booming for Amels, the Dutch luxury yacht builder. Read More
  • Singer Andrea Bocelli Trades Up in Size +

    Stella del Nord Andrea Bocelli, the blind Italian tenor and song writer whose work spans both popular music and classical opera is a Read More
  • Plans for Greenock Terminal Approved +

    Greenock Ocean Terminal Plans have been approved for an iconic building on the banks of the Clyde at Greenock to welcome cruise ship Read More
  • Leixoes Cruise Terminal, Gateway to Porto +

    Leixoes Cruise Terminal With the growth of the cruise industry, many ports worldwide have been active in developing or improving their port facilities. Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Ships, Ports and Places

Suez Canal

The Creation of the Suez Canal - Part Two

IAt the end of 1858, the company’s Works Committee convened for the first time. It included an impressive assembly of Read More
Mv Saint Brandan

Saint Brandan - "Vital Spark of the South Atlantic"

In 1876, James Gardner commissioned a small vessel to transport quarried stone from Ballachulish to Glasgow. He also opened an Read More
  • 1
  • 2

Companies, Events and Other Features

Mercury

Tribute to the "Mercury"

In the summer of 1968, the training ship Mercury in the Hamble River closed down after many years of training Read More
SS Eastern (2)

MT Arthur Foss

“The last vessel to escape Wake Island before Japanese forces captured the island” Read More
  • 1
  • 2