The Value of Drills: CSL Welland Crew Saves Man's Life

CSL Welland

By The Maritime Executive 09-01-2018 07:37:28

On August 25, the 16-member crew of CSL Welland was involved in a rescue operation that saved a man’s life while transiting through Lake Ontario off the coast of Olcott, New York. 

Crew members on watch in the CSL Welland wheelhouse noticed objects floating in the water. Captain Wilson Walters was immediately notified and communicated the information to the Coast Guard.

As the crew members kept watch, it became apparent that the objects were in fact two people. The captain immediately activated the general alarm, alerted the Coast Guard and proceeded with an emergency maneuver of the 225.5-meter (740-foot) ship to rescue the people. A virtual marker was dropped on the vessel's ECDIS, and the entire crew immediately enacted their Man Overboard protocols. 

Meanwhile, a small fishing boat was sighted in the area and was summoned by the captain to assist with the rescue of one of the men. The fishing boat was able to rescue a conscious man, who was transferred onto CSL Welland. The crew provided the necessary first aid to prevent shock and keep the survivor warm, dry and hydrated.

The CSL Welland crew located the second person in the water, and the ship’s rescue boat was launched. The crew recovered the visibly unconscious man into the rescue boat and commenced administering CPR. Because of the restricted space in the rescue boat, the man was transferred into the assisting fishing vessel and CPR was continuously performed until the arrival of the U.S. and Canadian Coast Guards. Once on the scene, Coast Guard officials boarded the fishing vessel and attended to the unconscious man who was pronounced dead shortly after.

The deceased man was transferred to a U.S. Coast Guard Cutter and taken ashore. The survivor was transferred from CSL Welland to the fishing vessel and was also taken ashore.

Following the departure of the Coast Guard, the Captain commended his crew and highlighted that their active participation in regular drills was the reason they were able to respond with such speed and precision. Man Overboard drills are conducted every three months on Canada Steamship Lines' vessels.

“We commend Captain Wilson Walters and his crew for this act of heroism that is a true testament to the professionalism, teamwork and courage of the crew,” said Louis Martel, Canada Steamship Lines President and CEO. “Thanks to regular training and drills, CSL Welland seafarers instinctively performed their Man Overboard duties and did exactly what they were trained to do. The emergency operation explicitly demonstrated that training and drills do save lives.”