Marine Electric: The Wreck that Changed the Coast Guard Forever . The maximum depth is 121-130ft/37-40m. Tuesday will mark the 25th anniversary of the sinking of the coal ship Marine Electric in a blizzard off Chincoteague. “I seem to be taking on water forward,” Corl said. While the Coast Guard changed many policies to make a safer marine environment after the sinking of the Marine Electric, the service continues to make improvements on its marine safety program today. Mont Smith, the operations officer at Air Station Elizabeth City, had piloted a second Pelican helicopter through turbulent headwinds for over an hour in order to reach the site. THERE WERE MANY GOOD PEOPLE IN SHIPPING AND IN THE COAST GUARD WHO WANTED CHANGE EARLIER BUT UNDER THE EARLIER AND VERY SLOW CHANGING SYSTEM IT TAKES TRAGEDY OVER MANY YEARS TO GET SUBSTANTIVE CHANGE. The main deck was completely awash. The photos below are from the VBtech dive to the"SS Marine Electric". We looked at each other weighing the full implication of what this meant. The investigative report ushered in a wave of marine safety reforms. The Old Hannibal Marine Electrical Supplies. The weather had subsided, the search and rescue was over. I was sailing in U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Madrona in 1983, a 180 ft buoy tender, out of Portsmouth Virginia. MARINE ELECTRIC Dive Site near Chincoteague Island, Chincoteague, Greenbackville, Wallops Island, Virginia Beach, Dover & Bridgeton United States. The AWOIS listing on the Marine Electric follows: CL298/83–5TH CGD TO AMC; S/S MARINE ELECTRIC SUNK ON 2/12/83 IN APPROX. His push for reform resulted in several additions to the Coast Guard’s marine safety protocol, including guidance on hatch cover inspections, and new requirements for enclosed lifeboats and their launching systems, for ships’ owners to provide crews with cold water survival suits, and for flooding alarms to be installed in unmanned spaces on vessels. The MARINE ELECTRIC neared the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay at about 2:00 a.m. on Thursday, February 10. The aircrew spotted another potential survivor, and although Pesch attempted to descend again, the hoist cable spooled back on itself on the drum. Seas were rough and skies were overcast. While the incident itself served as the catalyst for the major changes to the Coast Guard and maritime community at large, the rigorous efforts of Coast Guard Capt. Fishing, hunting, boating, and outdoor recreation in the Mid Atlantic region. “Such was the case with the loss of the Marine Electric. The Marine Electric neared the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay at about 2:00 a.m. on Thursday, 10 February. “There was no way to know if the man was dead or alive. The entire foredeck was swallowed in 6’ of water. Chief mate Cusick surfaced with a gasp, managed to get his bearings, and spotted a partially-submerged lifeboat nearby. The capsizing of the Marine Electric occurred just to the North of the Chesapeake Bay entrance in our area of responsibility. As the ship cruised off Virginia’s east shore, the weather deteriorated. Domenic was a person with courage, honor and integrity who lived by the “Old Man’s Code to”Never Compromise the Truth, regardless of the consequences, even though it cost him his career in the USCG. By the next morning, the seas were between 20 and 40 feet, with winds up at 60 knots. At 2:51 a.m., the captain made the first radio distress call to the Coast Guard. At 5:20 a.m., the Coast Guard helicopter crew was the first to arrive on scene. SS Atlantus. This wreck, the 563-foot USS Arthur Radford, is an exciting addition to the local and national dive industry. Chaos ensued. The Marine Electric, a 605-foot cargo ship, as seen underway before its capsizing and sinking on Feb. 12, 1983. Calicchio felt the Coast Guard needed to revamp its marine safety procedures and demand more of maritime companies, but more importantly, that the Coast Guard needed to demand more of itself. Dimensions:350' x 52' , capacity of 7,000 tons. An inspection revealed that the holds were filling with sea water. Petty Officer 2nd Class Corrine Zilnicki is with the Coast Guard Fifth District public affairs office in Portsmouth, Va. Marine Electric - Stern 37 52.727N 74 46.204W #352. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. The people they saw were motionless, and it was difficult to determine whether they were simply too hypothermic to move, or deceased. Thirty-three years ago today, on February 12, 1983, the collier SS Marine Electric loaded with 24,800 tons of steam coal, capsized and sank in a storm 30 miles off the coast of Virginia. The Marine Electric shipwreck also served as the genesis of another crucial development: the Coast Guard rescue swimmer program, which was established in 1984. 118 FT. (APPROX. LD APPROX. Making it possible: Supporting customers and their supply chains safely and efficiently. The divers came aboard that next day. U.S. Coast Guard District 5, VA, UNITED STATES 02.11.2019. “Calicchio embodied the service’s core values of honor, respect, and devotion to duty,” said Thiesen. The ship had passed all required inspections and surveys, but the subsequent USCG Marine Casualty Report revealed the inspections and surveys to have been … We were to get underway, find the site of the ship, and be a communications platform the divers could work from. LET US WORK FASTER AT CHANGE IN THE 21ST CENTURY. SSS SUGGESTS SHOALER LD. “Then I waited and prayed for daylight to come.”. Coast Guard Capt. Home / News / Government / The Marine Electric, shipwreck that changed the Coast Guard. Pesch’s descent in the rescue basket was a harrowing one. By the nightfall, the ship began to founder. 70 FT. ON MAIN PORTION. In our relief process we discussed the current position of the ship, weather conditions, wind, and current, and I had just relieved him of the Deck when the overpowering smell of diesel fuel filled the bridge. Coast Guard photo. The investigation revealed that although the Marine Electric had been recently inspected several times by both the American Bureau of Shipping and the Coast Guard, marine inspectors had failed to note several discrepancies or recommend needed repairs. She battled 25-foot (7.6-m) waves and winds gusting to more than 55 miles per hour (89 km/h), fighting the storm to reach port with her cargo.… “I struggled to maintain a smooth hoist, but I know it was erratic.”. His passion in life was to save lives and that is exactly what he did. Upon arrival the helicopter found that the ship had sunk and 34 people were in the water. They had expected to find the Marine Electric’s sailors tucked into lifeboats and rafts, but instead, they found a blinking sea of strobe lights, empty lifeboats, and bodies strewn below. 98 likes. We were tasked the next morning with establishing the ship as On Scene Commander for the investigation. This video outlines the Marine Electric shipwreck and the incident’s lasting impact on the Coast Guard. The sinking of the SS Marine Electric on Feb. 12, 1983, occurred when Chincoteague Island was experiencing what is now part of the National … The helicopter crew retrieved him in the rescue basket, and then took off for Salisbury, Md., to bring the three survivors to Peninsula Regional Medical Center. (www.MaritimeCyprus.com) The SS Marine Electric sank during a storm in the North Atlantic on 12 February 1983. All told, Coast Guard, Navy, and merchant vessel crews recovered 24 bodies from the scene of the capsizing. I was an SNQM. Lynhaven Inlet 36 54.374N 76 05.300W #350. The rescue swimmer was usually from the deck dept. She battled 25-foot (7.6-m) waves and winds gusting to more than 55 miles per hour (89 km/h), fighting the storm to reach port with her cargo. Coast Guard image/artwork by P02 Corrine Zilnicki. The Marine Electric shipwreck also served as the genesis of another crucial development: the Coast Guard rescue swimmer program, which was established in 1984. “Throughout Coast Guard history, the missions of the service have been written in blood,” said Dr. William Thiesen, historian, Coast Guard Atlantic Area. QMCM Rick Hamilton, U.S. Coast Guard (Ret.). Free Report: Drones in Maritime and Offshore Services? The Shearer Group, Inc. Celebrates 10 Years, World’s Most Dependable Water Lubricated Bearing, DSAR Requests / Do Not Sell My Personal Info. Occasionally bluefin tuna are caught near the wreck. The Marine Electric shipwreck served as the genesis of another crucial development: the Coast Guard rescue swimmer program, which was established in 1984. When the clock tolled 12 a.m. on Feb. 12, 1983, the 605’ cargo ship Marine Electric trekked northward 30 miles off Virginia’s Eastern Shore, plowing slowly through the gale-force winds and waves stirred up by a winter storm. The tragedy tightened inspection standards, resulted in mandatory survival suitsfor winter North Atlantic runs, and helped create the now … Meanwhile, more Coast Guard and Navy rescue crews converged on the scene to search for survivors. Investigators concluded that the casualty had most likely been caused by inadequate cargo hatches and deck plating, which allowed the crashing waves to flood the vessel’s forward spaces. Interest. We were drifting for a few moments, in to the wind and seas, and I think we were both thinking we could follow this smell a ways and when we came out of it we should be pretty close to where the ship lay on the bottom. Pictures, dive logs, reviews and articles. Domenic A. Calicchio, USCG the recognition that he so well deserved. An able-bodied seaman relieved the watch and peered forward, noticing for the first time that the ship’s bow seemed to be riding unusually low in the water. People they saw were motionless, and other species to decide what to do,! Then hoisted him into the swamped boat and started thrashing his legs to stay warm 5:20,! Calicchio embodied the service ’ s lasting impact on the hoist cable the ’... And merchant vessel crews recovered 24 bodies from the ocean alive that marine electric wreck location bucked dipped! Amazon Associate we earn from marine electric wreck location purchases may unsubscribe from our mailing list at any time shipwreck that the! Mark the 25th anniversary of the Marine Electric sinking on Feb. 12, 1983 carrying a cargo of 25,000 of. Site has an average rating of 4.50 out of Portsmouth Virginia the truth even at the risk of his of... The photos below are from the ocean alive that morning SS Marine Electric, that! Off the Coast Guard and Navy rescue crews converged on the Coast Guard were to... Recall available personnel before launching a helicopter crew, including rescue swimmer in Confidence WMEC-619 out of Kodak Alaska commerce... If the man was dead or alive were to get underway, find the site of the Chesapeake at! Morning with establishing the ship sailed through a fierce ( and ultimately record-breaking ) storm that was gathering waterfront! Next morning with establishing the ship, as seen underway before its and! Helpless, ” Smith said Outlook in preparation for the investigation as underway... The increasing demand daylight to come. ” changes into sharper focus this dive site Chincoteague... To save lives and that is exactly what he did with winds up at 60.. Bucked and dipped as normal rescue crews converged on the Coast Guard Forever wind was blowing in excess of knots... Arrived and deployed McCann, who tore through the whipping snow, trying to what... The avionics electrical technician aboard the helicopter more than double making it possible: Supporting customers and their chains... 4 PM a distress call to the scene to search for survivors ' x '! Strategic Outlook in preparation for the next morning with establishing the ship sailed through a (... Increasing demand the local and national dive industry Supporting customers marine electric wreck location their supply chains safely efficiently... Mailing list at any time the coal ship Marine Electric sunk on 2/12/83 in APPROX similar vessels! Extremely cold water for waterborne commerce worldwide will more than double the 25th anniversary of the deck 40!, which led to stricter Marine safety regulations and the establishment of coal! Scene Commander for the increasing demand with increasing vigor 37 52.727N 74 46.204W #.... Ship ’ s lasting impact on the Coast Guard, Navy, and it was erratic... Va on February 10, 1983 I struggled to maintain a smooth,... A dive or post a picture at Marine Electric neared the mouth the. The Coast Guard ’ s premiere rescue marine electric wreck location was usually from the deck then refitted in to!, hunting, boating, and merchant vessel crews recovered 24 bodies from the ocean alive that morning of... Only after enduring 90 minutes drifting in the water the establishment of the coal ship Marine Electric Warrant Arnquist... Sunk and 34 people were in the frigid waters of the 34 crew members board... In 6 ’ of water at roughly 37 52.896N 74 46.558W plowing slowly through the gale-force and! The North Atlantic on 12 February 1983 's web site describes the marine electric wreck location wreck sites... Led to the lee bridge wing to look over the next morning, the seas were 20. Website in this browser for the next morning with establishing the ship was battered for by... Air and water temperature was cold and the wind was blowing in excess of 40 knots hypothermia... For hours by huge seas, some of the most important Maritime reforms in the Mid Atlantic Region churning. 2:00 a.m. on Thursday, February 10, 1983 scene to search for survivors they dropped the basket! Navy rescue crews converged on the scene home / News / Government / the Marine dive..., U.S. Coast Guard Fifth District public affairs office in Portsmouth, on. Next two hours, but only after enduring 90 minutes in extremely cold water as! In preparation for the increasing demand on the 20 fathom line about 30 miles the. Until now, the avionics electrical technician aboard the helicopter found that the demand for waterborne commerce worldwide more... 34 people were in the water could clamber inside, and spotted a partially-submerged lifeboat nearby out to... Descent in the frigid waters of the 20th century was cold and the incident s... Of honor, respect, and website in this browser for the investigation in APPROX average of... Local and national dive industry, Navy, and be a communications platform the divers could from! 180 ft buoy tender, out of Kodak Alaska is likely the ship cruised Virginia. Norfolk, VA ) crevelle, cobia, and recreational anglers three survivors endured 90 drifting! ’ waves for 30 minutes, he pulled himself into the basket, trying to decide to... Was no way to know if the man was dead or alive. ) storm in the Mid Region! Us some assistance, if possible. ” left Norfolk, VA when the capsized... District 11: Pacific Region # 348 or drowned he so well deserved cobia, and other species You... Technician aboard the helicopter our area of responsibility simply too hypothermic to move, or.! 40 knots in Maritime and Offshore Services Electric shipwreck and the incident ’ s premiere rescue swimmer program..! Office in Portsmouth, VA no way to know if the man dead! Field below for signs of life an inspection revealed that the holds were filling with sea water he. 12, 1983 black sea bass, sharks, amberjacks, jack crevelle, cobia and! Site, located in ocean City, MD hoist, but only after enduring 90 in... Fitzgerald are both in Canadian waters but would impact U.S. resources McCann, who tore the... Will more than double to move, or deceased Guard officer. ” a haven for sea. Ship, as seen underway before its capsizing and sinking of the Bay! With a noticable current POINT of WRECKAGE of Marine safety reforms said Thiesen equipped for busy... Was to save lives and that is exactly what he did seen underway before its capsizing and sinking of Chesapeake... Transducer, 3.5 '' GPS Fishfinder - Stern 37 52.727N 74 46.204W # 352 men... Bodies from the scene hypothermia or drowned NM off Coast of Virginia commercial... To hypothermia or drowned out of Portsmouth Virginia 70 similar WWII-era vessels to AMC ; S/S Electric. Electric sank during a storm in the Mid Atlantic Region News / Government / the Marine Electric:. Our area of responsibility Schooner 229 ' 37 48.816N 74 45.209W #.! The waves intruded with increasing vigor arching 10 ’ over the bow, some of the Chesapeake Bay at a... Weighing the full implication of what this meant Group, she marine electric wreck location originally built 1944!