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Investigation notes US Coast Guard patrol boat's ‘blind spot' in deadly collision with fishing vessel

The US Coast Guard acknowledged its Fast Response Cutters have a bridge-window view blind spot. (US Coast Guard)

A “blind spot” in the bridge-window view “hindered” the overall helm view of a Sentinel-class US Coast Guard (USCG) Fast Response Cutter (FRC) before the vessel collided with a fishing vessel on 8 August 2022, resulting in an injury and fatality aboard the civilian craft, according to a USCG investigation report of the accident, released on 7 July.

The report also noted that the FRC was travelling at relatively high speeds to embark a foreign ship-rider in sea states that could make it harder to see small vessels, but determined there was no reason to reduce that speed.

The collision between USCGC Winslow Griesser (WG) (WPC-1116) and the 23 ft vessel Desakata, a centre-console (C/C) vessel occurred about four miles northeast of Dorado, Puerto Rico, the USCG reported. Desakata had two passengers, and the mishap resulted in the injury to one and the death of the other.

“The mishap was caused because neither the USCGC Winslow Griesser nor the Desakata saw one another and, as a result, failed to take appropriate action that could have avoided or reduced the severity of the collision,” the USCG said in a report released on 7 July.

The 154 ft (46.9 m) Sentinel-class patrol boats are becoming the USCG fleet workhorses. The service plans to buy 65 FRCs as replacements for the service's 49 Island-class patrol boats, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) noted in a June report of the cutter fleet. At a speed of 10 kt, the FRC's range is about 2,500 n mile (4,630 km), the USCG reported.

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