Coast Guard suspends search for overboard tug master

On Thursday afternoon, the Coast Guard has suspended its search pending further developments for a 48-year-old man who was reported to have fallen overboard into the frigid Atlantic from a Boston-bound tugboat approximately nine miles south of Newport, R.I. on Wednesday. The man was the master of the New York based 91 foot tug Steven-Scott. It is reported that he may not have been wearing a life jacket.

The crew of the Steven-Scott contacted the Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England Command Center at 2:40 p.m., Wednesday, reporting that the man was last seen at approximately 1:30 p.m. and that he may have gone overboard.

The Coast Guard broadcast an urgent alert to all mariners in the area and dispatched a motor life boat, a response boat, two patrol boats, and a helicopter to the area, searching 775 square miles.

At the time the Coast Guard believes the man fell overboard, the Steven-Scott was in three- to five-foot seas approximately nine miles nine miles south of Newport, R.I. A spokesman described the conditions as “a little bit kicked up” with water temperatures of about 52 degrees.

The New York-based tugboat remained in the area, while another tugboat relieved it of its tow-a barge carrying 45,000 barrels of jet fuel.

“The Coast Guard conducted a thorough search with multiple assets through the night, but unfortunately they did not yield new information,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Joaquin Alayola, a search and rescue controller at the 1st Coast Guard District in Boston.

This is the third boat-related drowning to which the Coast Guard has responded since April 1.

Seamen injured on the job are often entitled to recovery under the Jones Act, the doctrine of seaworthiness, and maintenance and cure. The surviving family members of seamen lost at sea may be entitled to recovery under the Jones Act, the Death On The High Seas Act, or state law for the wrongful death of their loved one.

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