History of ATR-7 - Page 6

    On the evening of Saturday 12 August at 2025 ATR-7 commenced preparations for getting underway to assist a tanker in distress. Eleven fire-fighting men from the base at Miami and another six men from USS PCE-867 were taken on board prior to sailing. By 2226 she was underway and standing out of Miami Harbor en route to Fort Pierce, Florida sea buoy. Sailing north, she passed the landmarks of Hillsboro Light, Jupiter Inlet, and St. Lucia Inlet Light. It was shortly after 0700 Sunday when ATR-7 came along side USS ATR-61 standing by the Panamanian tanker S.S. BOSTONIAN [former Italian Anteo] anchored in the water northeast of Fort Pierce sea buoy No.8 the tanker carried a cargo of highly flammable benzol.
  ATR-7 lowered her whaleboat with seven men and one officer, sending it to the big tanker. While the rescue party was on board the tanker, ATR-7 maintained various courses and speeds near by. The rescue party reported fumes of benzol leaking in the pump room of the tanker. The body of one of the mates was wedged in the cramped machinery space and could not be removed. USS ATR-61 departed from the area. A doctor and a fire chief from Fort Pierce both came on board ATR-7 to talk to the captain. The BMC received a very bad laceration on the left index finger when it got caught between a steadying line on the motor whaleboat and the gunwhale of the ship during a heavy swell.  Later some of the rescue party returned to ATR-7, but still had no success in stopping the leaking benzol or recovering the body.  The doctor and fire chief returned to Fort Pierce in a coast guard picket boat.
     Early Monday morning, ATR-7's Captain and XO left the ship in the whaleboat and boarded the tanker. An hour later the whale boat returned with gear and men of the rescue party. Shortly before noon the Captain returned from the tanker.  At 1535 on August, SS BOSTONIAN got underway to Key West, Florida. In compliance with COMGULFSEAFRON confidential dispatch, ATR-7 was directed to escort the tanker. She took station about 1000 to 1500 yards ahead of the tanker and began patrolling using her sonar and radar equipment.

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