• Aug 3, 2006
In what can only be described as a tragic turn of events, a naval architect on the salvage team working to stabilize the Mazda-laden cargo ship, Cougar Ace, was killed after he lost his footing and fell on Monday.

Seattle area resident Marty Johnson, age 40, had completed a survey of the vessel with his team and was preparing to disembark when he slipped and fell approximately 80 feet. He was knocked unconscious and attempts to resuscitate him on board were unsuccessful. He was taken by helicopter to the US Coast Guard Cutter Morgenthau, where he was pronounced dead.

This horrific episode illustrates just how dangerous the Cougar Ace salvage operation is. Our condolences go out to Mr. Johnson's family.

[Sources: US Coast Guard, KOMO TV, Seattle Post-Intelligencer]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 10 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      Forget the thoughts.. my prayers are with his family, me thinking about it can't help that family..
      • 8 Years Ago
      It is now August 9th and I cannot find out any current information about the fate of the Cougar Ace.
      Does anyone know what is happing??
      • 8 Years Ago
      Wow, it's not policy to be tied off on a job like that? Try going up 80 feet on land in America and see if OSHA doesn't require something. Heck, I couldn't go shirtless while roofing because of OSHA.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Very sad news, sorry to hear that.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I'm captain of a Toyota car carrier that is rated at 5,350 units and probably quite similar to the Cougar Ace. It is an American flag vessel. I'm wondering how the ship came to roll onto its side at an 80% angle. My first hunch would be that a mistake was made in the ballasting but, as yet, I haven't read anywhere the exact cause of the accident. Would appreciate if someone could enlighten me.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I apologize; our thoughts and prayers go to the family of this tragic event.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Gary, thanks for adding your perspective to the story. We're very sorry for your loss.
      • 8 Years Ago
      This tragic accident weighs on my mind. I, too, am a Naval Architect by training. I've had the good fortune of participating in many successful marine projects around the world. I progressively moved from Naval Architect to Salvage Engineer to Salvage Master. Marty Johnson and I were on a team together that won a contract to service the United States Navy for salvage-related matters.

      Several years ago, I transformed the focus of my career to the software industry... Priorities change as you build a family.

      The marine industry still hasn't quite caught up with my decision... I declined an opportunity to participate in the Cougar Ace salvage project about a day after it started. Shortly thereafter, my friend and colleague Marty Johnson went up on the job, slip, fell and died.

      People involved with the marine salvage industry lay their lives on the line for metal, glass, plastic and money every day. It's a fascinating and little-observed cottage industry filled with strong men, big ideas, bold courage and a liking for the sea and its lore.

      Take the time to tip a glass to Marty. He was one of the good guys. Thanks for taking the time to "listen."
      • 8 Years Ago
      Man, that really sucks, no car is worth a life. Our thought with you as well...