Storm drives liftboat ashore
One of two captains crewing the liftboat Russell W. Peterson died today after both were taken off the vessel when the Coast Guard responded to an 8.46 a.m. distress call.
According to local media reports, the vessel was being pounded by heavy weather about 14 miles off Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. It was trying to negotiate swells of 12 to 14 feet, in winds that were were blowing at 30 to 40 knots.
The liftboat subsequently grounded on Bethany Beach, Delaware around noon.
The 25 year old liftboat was christened as the RV Russell W. Peterson on March 29 in ceremonies to mark its deployment on what was to have been a 75 day assignment studying migratory bird activity in the area of Reheboth Beach.
The vessel, owned by Aqua Survey, Inc., was making the studies on behalf of Bluewater Wind LLC, which hopes to build an offshore wind farm in the area.
Aqua Survey Inc. issued a statement saying:
This morning the liftboat Russell W. Peterson sent out a distress signal to the US Coast Guard. The Peterson had been offshore, Rehoboth Beach, DE, studying bird migration. The Coast Guard is to be commended for dispatching rescuers by both sea and air. The Peterson was staffed by two captains. Both were removed by the Coast Guard. We have been informed that one of the captains did not survive the ordeal. Aqua Survey is not releasing names at this point. Our hearts and prayers are with the family and friends of the lost mariner.
Aqua Survey will work closely with the Coast Guard and other agencies to safely and quickly salvage the vessel.
Peter D. Mandelstam, President of Bluewater Wind, LLC, said:
"Everyone here at Bluewater Wind is deeply saddened by this tragic occurrence. Our thoughts and prayers are with the captain's family, friends, and loved ones."