Wrecked London ship currently calling SWLA home


CARLYSS, LA (KPLC) - An international ship is catching the eye of boaters and fisherman just south of the Calcasieu Pointe Boat Launch. Large ships aren't unusual for that area, but this one is different: it's been wrecked.

The Seagate is a ship from London, now docked in the old Bollinger ship yard. But why is it here, and what happened to it?

"What we know about this vessel is that it was involved in a collision off the coast of Haiti," said Marine Safety Unit Lake Charles Commander Will E. Watson. "About 16 nautical miles northeast of Haiti."

The ship wreck happened on March 10. A Reefer vessel carrying refrigerated goods struck the bulk carrier Seagate just before dawn.

"The Timor Stream, which is the refrigerated vessel, struck the freight ship Seagate and damaged the starboard side of the vessel, which is the right side, extensively," said Commander Watson. "So much so, that the owners decided to take the vessel out of commercial service."

Water rushed in, and the Seagate's engine room flooded. Some had to be rescued, but all 21 crew members survived. Commander Watson says the US Coast Guard responded to the call.

"When the coast guard is called, we go," said Commander Watson. "We try always to be available to help. Even though this occurred outside us waters, we got the call, we went."

After the wreck, Southern Recycle, out of New Orleans, purchased the ship. She was offloaded in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, where minor repairs were made so she could make the voyage here, where she's been since May.

"We are doing things to make sure that the vessel is safe where it is, and that is having our crew go down every now and then, take a look, make sure the lines that are mooring the vessel to the dock are tight, or taught as we say it in nautical terms. And we just check to see how the vessel is sitting in the water, make sure it's not listed one way or the other," said Commander Watson.

The dealings with the ship are commercial, but it's the Coast Guard's job to keep the waterway's safe.

"The Coast Guard's focus is to make sure we protect our waterway users, commercial waterway users, recreational users, in the port," said Commander Watson. "When situations like this arise, we do what we can to maintain the utmost level of safety for the citizens of Lake Charles.

Officials with Southern Recycle, who did purchase the Seagate, say they are spending this week trying to decide exactly what to do with the ship.

Officials say the ship may be beyond repair. After this week, Southern Recycle may choose to move the boat and scrap it for metal.

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