Fire disables Coast Guard cutter in 25-foot seas

Posted: Friday, January 19, 2001

CORDOVA, Alaska (AP) -- An electrical fire cut power to the Coast Guard cutter Sedge for nearly an hour and a half in 25-foot seas and 50-knot winds, and one crew member was injured, the Coast Guard said.

The Sedge, a 180-foot buoy tender based in Homer, was expected to reach Valdez on Friday to transfer the injured crew member to a hospital and to have repairs made on a damaged engine room switchboard, Lt. David Arritt said.

The crew member has back and neck injuries from a fall in the ship's hold.

The 378-foot high-endurance cutter Mellon was diverted from patrol and the 180-foot buoy tender Sweetbrier was ordered to leave port in Cordova to assist the Sedge after the crew issued a distress call at 3:41 p.m. AST Thursday, according to a Coast Guard statement.

Both vessels were released from the call to assistance after power was restored aboard the Sedge about 5 p.m., the statement said.

The fire was confined to the switchboard, and the cause is under investigation, Arritt said by telephone from the 17th Coast Guard District office in Juneau.

The mishap occurred in the Gulf of Alaska about 100 miles south of Cordova on the second day after the Sedge left Homer for Juneau, the first leg of a voyage to Seattle for scheduled maintenance at a shipyard.

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