USCG and FDNY respond to tanker disabled by engine room fire

Written by Nick Blenkey
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The disabled Hong Kong-flagged tanker Feng Huang AO sits at anchor off the coast of New York City, Oct. 8, 2018. The ship had become disabled after a an engine room caused major damage to machinery

OCTOBER 9, 2018 – The U.S. Coast Guard and firefighters and rescue paramedics from the Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY) Special Operations Command yesterday conducted a joint safety examination of a 479-foot asphalt tanker disabled following an engine room fire that broke out underway in the Atlantic Ocean, Oct. 5.

Early Friday morning, watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England in Woods Hole, Mass., received a report that the 12,799 dwt Hong Kong-flagged tanker Feng Huang AO with 21 crew aboard, had a fire ignite in the engine room while transiting 57 miles southeast of Nantucket Island.

The ship was loaded with asphalt and was bound for New York Harbor.

The fire was extinguished using the ship’s installed carbon dioxide fire suppression system. There were no reported injuries to any crew members, and no reports of pollution. The ship’s electrical generators and main engine were disabled by the fire.

Coast Guard Cutter Legare, a 270-foot Medium Endurance Cutter, homeported in Portsmouth, Va., was diverted to the area to assist the stricken vessel.

Salvage tugs were dispatched to rendezvous with the Feng Huang AO and take it under tow.

Towing operations towards New York began early Sunday morning with Coast Guard Sector New York personnel closely monitoring the vessel’s transit through offshore shipping lanes.

Inspection crews from Sector New York and FDNY boarded the vessel Monday afternoon to assess damage and ensure the ship’s safety prior to allowing entry into New York Harbor.

“This was a significant engine room fire that damaged a number of vessel systems, and we are fortunate there were no injuries,” said Capt. Jason Tama, commander of Coast Guard Sector New York. “Responding to this case required close coordination between numerous partner agencies and stakeholders to ensure the safety of the ship and the port, and to protect the environment. The assistance and expertise provided by FDNY marine firefighters was essential to the safe resolution of this case.”

“The Port Security Grant Program has funded many training evolutions for the FDNY, which has translated into the successful multi-agency execution during this live event,” said John Esposito, FDNY Chief of Special Operations. “The collaboration during this incident exemplifies the importance of strong relationships between the FDNY and the Coast Guard.”

The Feng Huang AO will remain in port until repairs are completed.

The cause of the vessel’s fire is under investigation.


U.S. Coast Guard photograph courtesy of Coast Guard Cutter

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