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6 People Rescued From Tugboat on Fire in Ocean Off Marineland

| July 22, 2016

fire flight image

The barge on fire this afternoon, in an image captured by Flagler County Fire Flight.

Six people were rescued off a tugboat that caught fire several miles from shore near Marineland late this afternoon.


The six individuals took to a life raft after the tugboat caught fire, for reasons unknown at the moment, immediately next to a barge registered to Express Marine Inc. Early reports had indicated the possibility of explosions on board. Two fireballs were witnessed from shore.

The Coast Guard, Flagler County Fire Rescue’s Marine Unit, and Flagler County Fire Flight all responded after the fire was reported around 5:30 p.m. The barge was about five miles offshore.

The tugboat, the 98-foot steel Thomas Dann out of Tampa, a 41-year-old vessel, is operated by Dann Ocean Towing of Tampa and operates in the Gulf of Mexico, various ports along the Caribbean coasts, and the Mississippi River, among other water bodies, according to U.S. Maritime Intelligence.

By 6 p.m., the six survivors were reported to be safe, picked up by a fishing vessel.

Had the vessel not been in close proximity, Flagler County Fire Rescue’s swimmers were in the helicopter with a raft, ready to jump in the ocean to pick up the survivors as they are trained to do.

Eighteen members of Flagler County Fire Rescue are part of its marine unit, or trained to be in the unit. Six were at the scene this evening, in addition to Fire Flight’s crew. The department started training for its swift-water rescues in 2008. The unit has grown since. It includes three jet skis, three ATVs and has two huts that house fast-response equipment in addition to equipment stored at Station 41 in the Hammock.

This isn’t the first problem for the Thomas Dann. Four years ago on New York’s East River it was pulling a crane that, when it passed under the Brooklyn Bridge, ripped scaffolding used by painters. “The bridge was closed for a short time to traffic, but was quickly reopened after roughly 100 firefighters, police officers, and other responders were dispatched to the scene and no structural damage was discovered,” WorkBoat, a trade publication, reported at the time. “According to the New York Daily News, the tug continued on after the accident without stopping, and the Coast Guard was scheduled to interview the tug’s captain.”

(Flagler County Fire Flight)

(Flagler County Fire Flight)

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13 Responses for “6 People Rescued From Tugboat on Fire in Ocean Off Marineland”

  1. Outsider says:

    Good job to all involved in the rescue. Our emergency services have come a long way since the fires of 1998.

  2. Dr. robert thousand says:

    It was Dr. Bobby thousand Carol is Staples his girlfriend and Macy 11-year-old daughter that rescued the survivors of the burning tugboat on the boat named Rootless they were on their way to Daytona from Saint Augustine and saw the fire and turn their boat in the direction of the fire cause he knew something wasn’t right Bobby is a seasoned fisherman an excellent boat captain he took them to the Coast Guard station in new Smyrna he is a root canal specialist dentist in Palm Coast Florida and Saint Augustine he practices at dental specialist of North Florida

  3. r&r says:

    Fantastic coverage Flagler Live.

  4. footballen says:

    Thanks Dr. Thousand. Not only for that but also for getting that tooth out after some lesser dentist broke it off. Nice to hear everyone got out safely. Now what is to become of the burning vessel bobbing around out there?

  5. Anonymous says:

    The author of this post needs to learn to proof read; painful

    • FlaglerLive says:

      What’s painful is the presumption of readers like you. Instead of going to the wailing wall with this you could do as our more supportive readers do: send us an email pointing out the problems, ensuring they’re quickly fixed. Sorry our admittedly semi-literate staff of 600 isn’t up to your saintly standards.

  6. Roy says:

    Good job B-shift. Wish I was there!

  7. Merchant Sailor says:

    Deep thank you to those of you who are looking out for us at sea, who’s job is to protect us!!! To put your life on the line for us, God Bless!!!Thank you !!!!
    Sweet Spot in story also to me is that by the time the rescue crew arrived the tug crew had already been picked up by a fishing vessel, a fellow Mariner who did not turn a blind eye and was ever alert, could of been a commercial fisherman, could of been pleasure craft, could of been no one, but it was some one! who’s job or day was put on hold so he could aid a fellow sailor…thank you !!!!

  8. A.S.F. says:

    This captain and his boat need to be investigated. The next incident could cause a human or environmental catastrophe.

  9. John smith says:

    I heard that the boat had exhaust leaks that would turn the fiddly black

  10. Capt. Thomas Steinruck says:

    The owners are known to be 2nd rate. The captain’s choices is to go or to lose his job.

  11. Anonymous says:

    First off, thank you to the boat Captain on the fishing vessel that picked up the crew and all other government/state agencies involved. Secondly, thankful all the crew were not injured or worse and that they were unharmed. Third, to all you negative people more worried about the environment than human life shame on you. Shame on you for making comments about the captain, crew, boat and company when you don’t have any facts or any clue of what mariners do everyday risking their lives and missing their families to provide you with the admendities and luxuries you use everyday. Finally, many things can go wrong that are uncontrollable in an unpredictable and constantly changing environment when out to sea.

  12. Captain CJ says:

    I agree, a big thank you to the family that rescued the problem sailors. I have been a captain for almost 30 years and know things can go bad totally unexpected and have lent a hand a number of times to problems at sea. One never expects or plans a problem at sea but it happens.

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