Coast Guard response report

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Fishing boat fire

Station Point Allerton, Mass.

Two fishermen have been rescued and one fisherman remained missing after their 44-foot commercial fishing boat caught fire five miles northeast of Scituate Harbor. The boat, registered in Scituate, Mass., reportedly had three passengers on board. The extent of injuries was unknown at the time. The crew of a nearby fishing boat, which witnessed the fire, rescued two fishermen from a life raft and transported them to Scituate Harbor, where they were transferred to Emergency Medical Services personnel. One man was transported by EMS to South Shore Hospital. The other was flown by Med Flight to Massachusetts General Hospital. When the Coast Guard was notified of the boat fire, Station Point Allerton dispatched 41-foot and two 47-foot rescue boats to the scene and Air Station Cape Cod launched an HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter. Crewmembers from Station Point Allerton extinguished the fire and the fishing boat has reportedly sunk. The Coast Guard later suspended the active search for one of the missing fishermen. After searching 500 square miles over a 17-hour period, the man remained missing. Crewmembers aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Tybee, two rescue boats from Station Point Allerton and HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter aircrews combined their search and rescue efforts and completed searches throughout the night and first light with no sightings. Sea conditions were reported to be heavy with low visibility, winds at 18-22 knots, 10-foot seas and 36-degree water temperature. The cause of the fire was unknown. Coast Guard Sector Boston will conduct the marine casualty investigation. (Feb. 21)

Cooperative assistance

Station Barnegat Light, N.J.

A 78-foot scalloper that was disabled in harsh weather conditions was making its way back to port after an intense cooperative effort between several fishing boats and Coast Guard crews. The scalloper, home-ported in Hampton, Va., was left floundering 60 miles off of Cape May, N.J., after a rogue wave washed over the pilothouse knocking out the boat’s electronics, compass, global positioning system and partially damaging the steering. Another fishing boat in the area noticed that the scalloper was in trouble. The second fishing boat notified a 72-foot troller and requested they contact the Coast Guard. A Coast Guard rescue helicopter from Air Station Atlantic City arrived on scene to assess the situation. With wind gusts up to 62 miles per hour and 30-foot sea swells, the crewmembers of the rescue helicopter lowered a marine radio down to the scalloper which was then able to establish limited communications with the other fishing boats nearby. Crewmembers on the scalloper indicated that all of the windows in the pilothouse had been broken out, but they were all wearing dry suits. Coast Guard Station Barnegat Light deployed two 47-foot rescue boats which arrived on scene and began to escort the scalloper toward land. (March 9)

Body found among debris

Air Station Clearwater, Fla.

The Coast Guard’s search for an overdue 32-foot fishing boat resulted in the discovery of debris from the vessel and what is believed to be the deceased body of one of the two missing crewmen. The body was located 58 miles west of Anna Maria Island. The boat’s roof was found 64 miles west of the island. The search for the second crewman continues. The boat was reported overdue at Bay Pines Marina after not showing up as expected. Last communications with the boat crew occurred as they made their transit home. The crewmen were believed to have been fishing in a popular area called “The Elbow,” located about 73 miles west of John’s Pass. Weather likely played a part in the accident as sea conditions were reportedly six- to eight-foot waves with up to 40-knot gusts of wind. The search for the missing crewman continues with the Coast Guard Cutter Marlin from Fort Myers, Fla.,and a C-130 airplane and two HH-60 Jayhawk helicopters from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater. The body was recovered by Marlin. The Coast Guard’s three-day search for the missing fisherman was suspended at sunset. (March 2)

Rescue, then BUI

Station Umpqua River, Ore.

The Coast Guard towed a disabled boat on the Umpqua River, Ore., and assisted the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department in arresting a man for boating under the influence of alcohol. While on patrol, a 47-foot motor lifeboat from Coast Guard Station Umpqua River came across a boat appearing to be disabled and adrift. The motor lifeboat had a fishing boat in tow and requested a 25-foot response boat be launched to further investigate. The response boat arrived to see the man’s boat hard aground. Local emergency medical technicians were unable to access the stranded boater and requested that the Coast Guard tow the boat back to the boat ramp with the man on board. Upon reaching the ramp the sheriff’s department arrested the man for boating under the influence. The 44-year-old man had been rescued by the Coast Guard two days before after his mother reported him overdue from a trip up the Umpqua River. He was taken to Lower Umpqua Hospital to be treated for hypothermia.(March 25)

Boat collision

Station Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Coast Guard Sector Miami marine investigators were en route to Fort Lauderdale to investigate the cause of a boating accident in the Intracoastal Waterway near the Sunrise Blvd. Bridge. The Coast Guard received a report that a casino boat may have collided with two privately owned boats. The casino boat also reportedly collided with the Sunrise Blvd. Bridge. A response boat from Coast Guard Station Fort Lauderdale was immediately dispatched to the scene. After arriving on scene, Coast Guard crewmembers confirmed there was no sign of pollution at the time and that no injuries had been reported. At the time of the accident, the 160-foot private boat reportedly had 14 people on board, the other 152-foot boat had five people on board and the 95-foot casino boat had 26 people aboard — 15 passengers and 11 crewmembers. The 160-footer had a gash on the left side and the 152-footer had fiberglass damage. The casino boat was being towed to a marina. The cause of the incident was under investigation. (March 10)

Crew conducts first rescue

Station Valdez, Alaska

A rescue boat crew from Coast Guard Station Valdez conducted the unit’s first rescue since the Coast Guard commissioned the station on Dec. 15, 2004. Rescuers aboard a Station Valdez 27-foot boat responded to two boaters aboard their 24-foot pleasure boat. Station Valdez personnel observed the boat emitting smoke and believed the boat was on fire. The crew responded and found that the boat’s engine had overheated and created the white smoke. The Station Valdez crew towed the disabled boat to the Valdez small boat harbor where its boaters moored the vessel. Neither of the boaters suffered any injuries in the incident. (March 7)