In May, 1990, two officers were found to have exhibited misconduct during the grounding. Ensign Susan L. Subocz, 22, officer of the deck during the grounding, was charged with hazarding the vessel by negligence. She received a letter of reprimand, and was fined $1000. In the summer, she was promoted to Lieutenant Junior Grade and transferred to somewhere on the west coast. Later that summer, she testified for the prosecution in the commander's court-martial.J Bigalow wrote: ↑December 4, 2023, 8:59 am Was the loss of the USCGC Mesquite a career ending event for the officers aboard her ?
Chief Warrant Officer James M. Thanasiu, 41, the Mesquite’s engineering officer, was charged with dereliction of professional duty. He received a verbal reprimand, and then retired the next day. He also testified for the prosecution.
After the investigation found enough evidence to charge the vessel's commander, Lt Cmdr J. Richard Lynch, 35, with dereliction of duty and negligently hazarding his vessel, he refused to resign without a commission and stood for a court-martial instead, even though he faced up to 27 months in prison. In September, was found guilty of negligently hazarding his vessel (a felony). He appealed the conviction but the appeal was rejected. He was given a letter of reprimand and a reduction of seniority points. At the time of his appeal, he was assigned to the staff of the newly formed National Pollution Funds Center in Washington, D.C. Not sure how long he lasted in the Coast Guard, but in 1999 he joined a fiduciary software company and served in several senior level management positions.
By the late 80's the 180' USCG buoy tenders on the Great Lakes were reaching the end of their service life. The Sundew was still in the shipyard and with ice rapidly forming on Lake Superior the Mesquite was assigned to pull ATON along the Keweenaw Penninsula. It was not uncommon as do commercial vessels to work 24/7 to accomplish late season goals and with a possible storm moving into the area later in the week Mesquite was working thru the nite to pull buoy's.R Estep wrote: ↑December 6, 2023, 9:17 pm What they were doing in that area in the dead of night makes no sense to me. That area with it's outcrops and shoals requires constant vigilance even during the day. Out there at night it gets dark, very dark. .
I won't even dignify the comment about alcohol being involved.
A combination of no GPS, inaccurate LORAN and the fact that the area on Charts has no close up definition of the shoal area put them in a precarious situation. Large lights on the working buoy deck also contributed to the inability to have good nite vision for the bridge crew and being a wilderness area there are no shore lights or landmarks
The fact that lightering the Mesquite of 50 tons of potable water, the 7 bouys on deck and anchors when the first went "on" and proper use of the bow thruster would have probably allowed the tender to back itself off the shoal but none of that was done. After the winds picked up and the Mesquite began grinding on the rocks the hull damage was too much and the Mesquites fate was sealed.
I never did hear a straight story about how it happened. I heard there was alcohol involved in one story or someone was intoxicated. The other I heard was that the navigator was hundreds of yards off course and bad decisions about ballasting and propulsion once on the reef.Guest Jon Paul wrote: ↑December 6, 2023, 11:01 am There is plenty of blame to go around and the Capt stood Court Martial. It should be pointed out however that Mesquite was covering buoy retrieval for the Sundew which was under going maintenance in a dangerous shoal area they had never worked before. GPS was unavailable, LORAN inaccurate and it was 0200 on an overcast night.
There is plenty of blame to go around and the Capt stood Court Martial. It should be pointed out however that Mesquite was covering buoy retrieval for the Sundew which was under going maintenance in a dangerous shoal area they had never worked before. GPS was unavailable, LORAN inaccurate and it was 0200 on an overcast night.