CORPUS CHRISTI, TX--(Marketwired - February 22, 2017) - The USCG presented one of its highest honors, the Meritorious Public Service Award, to Aransas-Corpus Christi Pilot Captain Lippold for his "quick and decisive actions" in preventing a serious marine casualty after his ship lost power January 5, 2017 on the Corpus Christi Ship Channel.
"Captain Lippold's actions are in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Coast Guard," said USCG Deputy Captain of the Port Michael T. Cunningham in a special ceremony during the regular monthly meeting of the Port of Corpus Christi Commissioners.
At approximately 1800 hours January 5, 2017, the veteran pilot boarded the AP REVELIN at Cargo Dock #9. The Marshall Islands-flagged bulk carrier was built in 2016, measures 590 ft. by 106 ft. and has a Deadweight of 38,700 tons. The hulking ship was well underway outbound and passing the Port Aransas Ferry Terminals when it suddenly lost power approaching the demanding turn where the channel intersects the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. A fuel injector had failed, causing a loss of power and crippling the ship. Navigating a ship at the intra-coastal juncture at night and in crossing traffic can be tricky even when all vessel systems are functioning properly.
Rapidly losing speed and steerage, Captain Lippold quickly devised a clever plan to use the ship's anchors and water currents to steer the AP REVELIN toward the south side of the channel before the vessel reached the rock jetties. The veteran pilot also made use of a nearby Pilot Boat to swing the bow of the vessel toward the bank so that it aligned evenly with the stern, essentially docking the vessel in the entry of the ship channel.
"Captain Lippold's actions prevented damage to the ship and nearby structures as well as avoided a possible pollution incident resulting in a closure of the ship channel for several days," said Captain Cunningham. "He directly contributed to the safe anchoring of the AP REVELIN at a safe location away from passing ships and shoreline property."
"Captain Bob Lippold exemplifies the caliber of harbor pilots who make up the Aransas-Corpus Christi Pilots," said Captain Jay Rivera, presiding officer.