Responders working on the Bligh Island Shipwreck face a medium to high risk due to the nature of the work during a response, weather conditions in Zuciarte Channel, sea conditions and temperature, and sea state. To address this risk, the CCGS Moorhen, Coast Guard’s Safety Vessel, is on scene to monitor the conditions, and work with the On Water Branch Director and the Deputy Operational Section Chief to make decisions on safe working practices and the operational limitations of the crews.
The Safety Vessel maintains communication and situational awareness of the day’s activities, location of crews, and tasks assigned to both the vessels and crews such as work on remote shorelines. The Safety Vessel can also respond to Search and Rescue calls, first aid, fires, broken-down or disabled vessels, and provide emergency transportation and evacuation.
At Bligh Island, a Coast Guard Rescue Specialist is also part of the Safety Vessel’s crew. Rescue Specialists are trained to the level of a St. Johns Ambulance Advanced Medical First Responder and can provide pre-hospital emergency level care and on-scene first aid in the instance of an accident. If needed, they can perform rescues and complicated extractions resulting from marine Search and Rescue incidents, including situations where there has been a cold water and weather exposure.
One of Incident Command’s top priorities is the safety of crews working at the Bligh Island Shipwreck. The Safety Vessel and Rescue Specialist is one way they are addressing that priority.