October 7, 1972 – The 8,145-ton, 500-foot Panamanian-flag freighter Liberty Manufacturer went aground on the rocks about 300 yards off Point Fermin.
The Panamanian-registered freighter was outbound from New Orleans for Yokohama when she attempted to enter the Port of Los Angeles to put ashore two crewmen who had been injured in a knife fight.
An initial attempt by three salvage tugs and a Coast Guard cutter to pull her off the rocks failed. She remained fast for three weeks as legal wrangling between the City of Los Angeles, the federal government, the ship’s owners and the owners of her cargo delayed further salvage efforts.
Declared a pollution hazard by the Coast Guard, the Liberty Manufacturer remained on the rocks for 19 days, while her fuel oil was off-loaded and helicopters removed more than 700 tons of cargo from her holds.
Refloated, she was brought into the port and docked at Berth 180, where she remained, the victim of more wrangling over who actually owned the ship, before she was towed to Yokohama, Japan, for repairs. (Los Angeles Times)
Salvage of Wrecked Schooner Continues
October 13, 1911 – Santa Barbara – Captain Henry S. Short of the Charm, returning yesterday from San Miguel Island, reports that he will be able to save much from the wreck of the three-masted lumber schooner Comet.
He made a thorough survey of the vessel as she rests on a reef a short distance from the island, and commenced the dismantling of the ship. He has secured enough of the rigging to pay the expenses of the whole venture, and is confident that much of the lumber will be safely secured.
By rigging a line from the schooner’s deck to the shore, they are able to go to and from the vessel in a bos’n chair, without encountering [the danger of the heavy sea that is almost always running at this exposed point Captain Short will return to the scene today. (Santa Barbara Morning Press)
Freighter, Tanker Collide Off Point Sur
October 24, 1947 – San Francisco – “A midnight collision in the fog-blanketed Pacific off rocky Point Sur touched off an explosion and; fire in the Richfield Oil Company’ tanker S. S. Sparrows Point today possibly claiming the life of one crew member.
The tanker collided with the Liberty ship, Manx Fisher. Two rescue boats took 37 of the 38 crew members from lifeboats before dawn in dramatic and efficient operations lighted by torches and smoke-murked flames from the stricken ship. The coast guard said radar proved ‘invaluable in locating and identifying’ the vessels and lifeboats involved in the collision. Nine hours after the collision, the captain and part of the crew were back aboard the tanker. The navy tug had the fire under control after laying alongside the tanker and pouring thousands of tons of sea water into the flames.
The tanker, her forward weather deck shattered by the explosion and her starboard hull partially ripped by the collision, got underway for San Francisco shortly be- tore noon with a coast guard escort. The missing man was the tanker’s lookout. The Coast Guard messaged that in view of the explosion and the fire forward, officials concluded further search for the seaman would be futile. All vessels in the area were released from duty.
The first 15 men were rescued from a lifeboat by the 10.000-ton Socony tanker, Colina. Another 22, including the Sparrow Point’s captain, Sven Nilsen, San Pedro, Calif., were removed from another lifeboat by the Minnetonka. All rescued crew members were transferred to the Monterey Coast Guard boat where they awaited their chance to return once more to their tanker.
The rescue was accomplished in a moderate swell after a dense fog, blanketing the collision area about 10 miles southwest of Point Sur, had lifted.” (Associated Press)