U.S. Navy Aircrew Saves Seafarers from Sinking Tug

File image courtesy HSM-74 / USN

By The Maritime Executive 12-21-2018 07:08:13

On Wednesday, a U.S. Navy helicopter aircrew saw a tug in the process of capsizing in a channel just south of Jekyll Island, Georgia. The helicopter notified the Coast Guard, which launched a successful response to rescue the tug's four crewmembers. 

According to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources' Coastal Resources Division (CRD), the tug Miss Addison capsized and sank in Jekyll Creek at about 1800 hours Wednesday. The MH-60R helicopter from Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron HSM-74 (also known as "the World Famous Swamp Foxes") was on a routine patrol in the area, and by chance its crew happened to see the tug go over. 

“We were happy to be in the right place at the right time to offer assistance,” said Lt. Cmdr. Jim Hinds, the helicopter's pilot. “After witnessing the vessel capsize in real time we were able to immediately respond and coordinate the rescue. My crew performed exceptionally well and we are thankful for the seamless teamwork with our partners from the US Coast Guard."

The tug is believed to have about 3,500 gallons of fuel on board, and the CRD is monitoring the scene for pollution. An oily sheen has been detected on the water's surface. 

The vessel's owner is presently working with a salvage company to lift and remove the Miss Addison. “The goal is to refloat the vessel as soon as possible,” a CRD official told local TV news. “They’re going to try to get it floated by Christmas.”

The Swamp Foxes are assigned to the USS Eisenhower carrier strike group, and they fly the anti-submarine / anti-surface variant of the MH-60 Seahawk helicopter. The USS Eisenhower is currently in port at Naval Station Norfolk after completing a repair period at Norfolk Naval Shipyard.