MMA graduate dies after electrocuted at sea

Christopher Erickson, 24, worked on chemical tanker
MMA president remembers graduate as one of the best

A member of the Class of 2007 at Massachusetts Maritime Academy died last Wednesday after he reportedly was electrocuted on the ship he was working on.

Christopher Erickson, 24, of Holden was working aboard the Sea River Wilmington when he was electrocuted, according to the Coast Guard.

Admiral Gurnon said Mr. Erickson was among the top students at MMA, where he was captain of the football team.

Adm. Richard Gurnon, president of the college, said Mr. Erickson was allegedly holding a wire while a circuit breaker was tested and was accidentally electrocuted. Mr. Erickson, who had been working as a third assistant engineer after graduating from Mass Maritime in 2007, was flown by helicopter to Houston, where he was pronounced dead.

The Sea River Wilmington is a chemical tanker owned by Sea River Maritime, a subsidiary of ExxonMobil.

The SR Wilmington, which ferried cargo to ports along the East Coast, was at anchor 12 nautical miles off Galveston, Texas, when the accident happened, according to Lieut. Tim S. Tilghman of the Coast Guard's Marine Safety Unit in Galveston.

The tanker called the Coast Guard to report that a crew member had been severely shocked and required emergency medical attention. A Coast Guard helicopter flew Mr. Erickson to a hospital in Houston, where he died.

Admiral Gurnon said Mr. Erickson was among the top students at MMA, where he was captain of the football team.

"In his senior year, he was selected as the cadet chief engineer," Gurnon told the Worcester Telegram & Gazette. "Out of about 200 seniors, only one is the top. Only one is chosen to lead on the sea term, a 50-day ocean voyage of 10,000 miles.

"It isn't just a function of grades," Gurnon said. "It's a function of respect and hard work and dedication. You don't get to be the chief engineer unless you can do it all."

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