Cargo ship rescue by Chicago Fire Department ‘Special Operations’ of an injured crew member in belly of ship ‘Algoma Conveyor’ carrying salt in Chicago’s Calumet River.
Police and firefighter/paramedics from Chicago responded about 1:35 p.m. Tuesday, February 25, 2020 to a report that a crew member fell about 100 feet down a hole in a cargo ship moored on the Calumet River near 10600 Burley Avenue. Initially the victim was reported to have been working in the belly of the ship, and that he fell from the deck 100 feet. However, he did not fall in a free fall; he slid down a wet metal grate. He injured his leg or ankle and possibly suffered at least one fracture. The actual controlled fall was possibly less than 100 feet.
Firefighters setup for a Confined Space Rescue operation or “Trench Rescue” operation to rescue the crew member. They initially discovered that the victim had been down for awhile, and possibly had a leg injury.
At about 1:46 p.m. incident command was planning to lower a Stokes Basket in a limited access space with a firefighter rescuer in a harness.
Fire department operations made use of a crane built into the ship to raise and lower the patient in the Stokes Basket. The patient was stabilized in the Stokes Basket before raising and lowering, and was raised to the deck, and placed at the edge of the ship just before 3:00 p.m. Once on deck, the patient was further packaged and checked for safety of equipment for lowering, and was ready to be lowered from deck to ground at about 3:00 p.m.
The patient was lowered smoothly to the ground from the deck, and was transferred to Chicago Fire Department Ambulance 71 at about 3:05 p.m. After transport to a nearby hospital, the patient was listed in good condition.
The rescue operation was completed and fire and special operations crews and equipment left the scene by about 3:19 p.m.
The ship, which was docked in the Calumet River, recently arrived in Chicago after traveling from Goderich, Ontario — crossing Lake Huron to Lake Michigan. According to marinetraffic.com the Algoma Conveyor was moored on the east bank of the Calumet River, Tuesday night.
Also, according to marinetraffic.com, Algoma Conveyor flies Canada’s flag and is a Self-Discharging Bulk Carrier. Merchant ships, known as bulk carriers transport unpackaged bulk cargo, such as grains, coal, ore, ore pellets, steel coils, salt, and cement.
The ship is operated by Algoma Central Corporation with headquarters in St. Catherines, Ontario. According to their website, Algoma Central Corporation owns and operates the largest fleet of dry and liquid bulk carriers operating on the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence Waterway. The Domestic Dry-Bulk marine transportation segment of Algoma Central Corporation includes ownership and management of the operational and commercial activities of the company’s fleet. The dry-bulk vessels carry cargoes of raw materials such as iron ore, grain, salt and aggregates, and operate throughout the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence Waterway, according to Algoma Central.
The Algoma Conveyor has five cargo holds below deck and can discharge cargo at a rate of 5,400 metric tons per hour.
The Algoma Conveyor was reported to have been transporting salt on this cargo voyage.
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