The Ohio River’s currents can run fast, so when the six-man crew of the MV (Motor Vessel) Dan L sent out a distress signal they were relieved to get an immediate response from Watco’s MV Red Lightning crew members that they were on their way to assist.
Watco’s three-man crew, Pilot Jeremy Stegner and Deckhands Christian Breeck and Mike Walker, work at the Ghent Terminal in Kentucky and they were out on the river early on January 23 when they received the distress signal.
At approximately 5:45 a.m. that day, the MV Dan L was northbound on the Ohio River at mile marker 516 with four empty red flag (hazmat) barges. The wheelman noted engine room alarms and dispatched a crewmember to investigate. Upon approaching the engine room, the crewmember observed flames and smoke and could feel the heat from a growing fire. Ultimately, the suppression system extinguished the engine room fire, but the MV Dan L lost propulsion during the fire and afterward was floating downriver with the current.
The MV Red Lightning was working a short distance upriver and immediately responded to the MV Dan L’s incident notifications. The MV Red Lightning crew worked to stabilize MV Dan L and the barges against the banks of the river while they waited for assistance to arrive about eight hours later. The MV Red Lightning’s fast response and quick action was instrumental in preventing secondary casualties.
“The Captain and crew of the MV Dan L did an excellent job of handling the situation. I’m glad we were in a position to provide assistance. Fortunately, everything worked out as well as can be expected,” said Pilot Jeremy Stegner.
Timothy Moss, president of Enterprise Marine Services, sent in a Letter of Appreciation acknowledging the crew for their quick actions. He wrote, “The unselfish actions of the MV Red Lighting’s Pilot Jeremy Stegner and Deckhands Christian Breeck and Mike Walker were critical in stabilizing an extremely dangerous situation and are in keeping with highest traditions of the inland towing industry.”
“I appreciate the quick response that Jeremy Stegner, Christian Breeck, and Mike Walker had in assisting M/V Dan L. Their quick response stabilized M/V Dan L from having a secondary casualty. This shows the dedication of our team members service to our customers and community,” said Ghent Terminal Assistant Manager Steven Kincaid.