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U.S. Coast Guard Rescues Seafarer Who Fell Overboard Without Lifejacket

Ghibli crewmember in rescue basket
Courtesy USCG

Published Sep 14, 2023 1:38 PM by The Maritime Executive

On Wednesday, the U.S. Coast Guard rescued a crewmember who fell over the side of a tanker off the coast of Galveston, Texas. 

At about 0920 on Wednesday morning, Sector Houston-Galveston received a distress call on Channel 16. The tanker Ghibli reported that a seafarer had fallen overboard, and he was not wearing a life jacket.

The victim had good fortune: a Coast Guard rescue helicopter was already in the air and not far away. The command center in Galveston diverted the helicopter crew to assist and dispatched a response boat to the scene for backup. 

The helicopter aircrew arrived and found the seafarer in the water. They deployed their rescue swimmer to retrieve the victim, and once he was safely aboard, they delivered him to a hospital in Galveston for further care. He was reported to be in stable condition. 

"Wearing a life jacket is absolutely crucial," said Travis Addison, Operations Unit Controller at Sector Houston-Galveston. "It was fortunate that our helicopter crew was flying nearby. If not, this case might have ended differently."

Ghibli is an 110,000 dwt crude tanker, flagged in Liberia and operated by a Dutch firm. Her port state control inspection record for the last four years shows few deficiencies.