42 people safe after abandoning ship 1,800 miles south of Hawaii

130 Barbers PointHONOLULU – The Coast Guard successfully coordinated the rescue of 42 people who abandoned ship when their fishing vessel American Eagle caught fire approximately 1,800 miles south of the Hawaiian Islands, Wednesday.

An HC-130 Hercules airplane crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point arrived on scene at 5:10 p.m. (HST), established communications with the fishing vessel’s crew and dropped a dewatering pump, flash lights and flares.

Fong Seong 888, a Tuvalu-flagged oil tanker, arrived on scene at 5:30 p.m. (HST) to offer additional assistance.

The captain of the American Eagle reported smoke had lessened from the disabled fishing vessel and boarded the vessel with eight crew members to suppress the fire. The captain reported the fire extinguished and the vessel to be in stable condition. The team of nine were able to restart the generator, reestablish electricity and maintain communication. The remaining 33 crew members were successfully recovered from their life rafts, work boats and skiff by the Fong Seong 888.

American Eagle’s sister ship, American Victory, is en route and expected to arrive in three days to relieve the Fong Seong 888.

The crewmembers aboard 258-foot U.S.-flagged fishing vessel abandoned ship at 10 a.m. (HST) into two life rafts, three work boats and one skiff. An emergency position-indicating radio beacon was activated and continues to transmit information.

Watchstanders at the Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Honolulu received notification from the vessel’s company American Eagle Fishing LLC at 8:38 a.m. (HST) of a fire aboard the vessel.

No injuries have been reported.

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