Summary of oral statement of BMC Glen D. Hart

 

 

 From papers from the official U.S. Coast Guard report into the gounding of the MLB CG-44392.

On 16 January 1975 the investigating received an oral statement from BMC HART (the party).

Excerpts from this statement that amplify or conflict with the prepared statement submitted by the Party are presented as follows:

BMC. HART has had various small boat experience including two tours on the Oregon Coast. He was familiar with the operating area--although there have not been many cases in the Point Couverden area, maybe a few each year. Point Couverden was a reasonable distance to operate in and he had operated there before but only during daylight hours. He was very confident about operating in the Point Couverden area.

BMC HART has no instructions promulgated by higher authority pertaining to local rules and regulations for running the Moorings or 44392. BMC HART operates 44392 with RCC as operational commander for all SAR cases and Group Juneau as operational commander for all other missions. For Group operations clearance is first requested from RCC.

In BMC HART's opinion loss of one main engine reduces his propulsion and maneuvering ability on 44392 by 60 percent.

Since 44392 has been assigned to the moorings (approximately 3 years) there have not been any engine problems experienced similar to when the port engine stopped on this mission.

BMC HART did not feel there were any unreasonable commands given in the chain of command. He has a Job to do and will do it. There have been previous instances in his career where conditions were such that he might refuse a command to get underway--like some conditions experienced on the Oregon coast. The conditions for this case were "marginal", it was not unreasonable to try it but marginal and he had requested a 95' WPB as backup and 180' WLB to standby because of this.

BMC HART had applicable charts aboard and was aware of the characteristics of' aids to navigation in the operating area.

QMCS HUTTO had calibrated the magnetic compass a few months before this mission. It seemed to be operating satisfactorily. The card was slow because the boat would move a lot faster than the card: He did not like to use the magnetic compass in the Juneau area for a search because of the many rocks, reefs and hazards in the area. He mainly relies on visual navigation and relies heavily on the radar.

The presently installed radar, AN-SPS-57 was installed new in November. The previous radar was a Bendix MR-4. He thought there was a strip heater installed on the MR-4 antenna to keep it from freezing up in rotation but he wasn't sure. The new radar did not have any special heating or deicing equipment installed.

The new radar was excellent and he thought very highly of it.

BMC HART considered MK-l MACK to be well qualified as a boat engineer for 414392 and thought FA BUTTERBAUGH also well qualified and capable.

BMC HART stated that the Group doesn't have tide tables for the area and that he hasn't read the Coast Pilot for the operating area.

BMC HART feels that if he had either both engines or one engine and the radar he would have made Auke Bay or Funter Bay.

BMC HART had the following recommendations:

1.

An insulated life raft should be part of the boat outfit.

2.

The pilot stand on Alaskan 44' MLB's should be enclosed and heated.

3.

The 44' MLB windshield should be heated.

4.

More windshield wipers should be provided.

5.

A CB radio capability should be added to the Juneau based 44' MLB; sometimes this is the only communications capability available.

6.

The 44' MLB should be provided an emergency locator beacon.

7.

All water tight compartments should be air tested in lieu of visual test.

8.

A 4 man boat crew instead of 3 man should be provided for long cases of this nature.

9.

A digital compass would have been better than a floating card type.

10.

The boat was built with a starboard list of up to 2 degrees. 350 pounds has to be removed from starboard to compensate.

11.

That radio antennas should be coated with a non-ice adhering surface. Where the antennas had been wrapped with black plastic tape at the bases no ice had adhered.

In BMC HART's opinion a 52' MLB or a 95' WPB would have been able to accomplish the mission better than the 44392.

 

My thanks go to the U.S. Coast Guard for allowing me to use these papers on my site.

 

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