U.S. Coast Guard Remembers Lives Lost in ‘Blackthorn’ Collision, Its Worst-Ever Peacetime Disaster

USCGC_Blackthorn_(WLB-391)_underway_in_1972
USCGC Blackthorn (WLB-391)

The U.S. Coast Guard held a memorial service Friday in remembrance of the 23 lives lost after the Coast Guard Cutter Blackthorn collided with tanker and sank in Tampa Bay, Florida in 1980.

Tomorrow will mark the 37th anniversary of collision.

The USCGC Blackthorn, a 180-foot buoy tender, sank January 28, 1980 shortly after the collision with the tanker Capricorn near the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. The Blackthorn lost 23 of its 50 crew members in what is considered the Coast Guard’s worst peacetime disaster.

A memorial inscribed with the names of the crew members who perished now stands two miles north of the collision site at the Blackthorn Memorial Park in Saint Petersburg, Florida, where Friday’s ceremony was held.

U.S. Coast Guard file photo of the Cutter Blackthorn Memorial.
U.S. Coast Guard file photo of the Cutter Blackthorn Memorial.

The hull of Blackthorn was raise about 22 days after the collision. Here’s a news clip from the day it was raised: