SEATTLE — Crewmembers from Coast Guard Station Bellingham rescued three men after the 57-foot fishing vessel Bergen washed onto the rocks in Squalicum Harbor, Thursday morning.
The three men were safely transported to Station Bellingham, and one was taken to PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center after exhibiting signs of hypothermia and reportedly suffering a foot injury.
The master of the vessel issued a mayday call on VHF-FM channel 16 at 5:30 a.m., reporting that the vessel had broken away from the pier and was washed onto the rocks and sinking near Squalicum Harbor. Station Bellingham personnel launched aboard two 45-foot Response Boat-Mediums. Rescue personnel arrived on scene and found the three men clinging to the sinking vessel, two of whom were wearing immersion suits.
“We were maneuvering in very shallow water and all the wind and waves were pushing against the stern of the small boat and pushing us against the vessel on the rocks,” said Chief Warrant Officer Charles Chavtur, commanding officer of Station Bellingham and coxswain of the RBM. “This storm is impressive and creating some very hazardous conditions across the area. People should avoid being on or near the water.”
Boatcrew members were able to get all three men safely aboard the RBM. They were transported to Station Bellingham at 7:15 a.m. and transferred to waiting emergency medical services.
Pollution responders from Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound Incident Management Division and Washington Department of Ecology are en route to the scene to monitor salvage of the vessel. There is a potential of 1,500 gallons of diesel onboard. Global Diving and Salvage has been contracted to conduct salvage operations.
Weather on scene was reported to be 5-foot seas, 40-knot winds with 50-knot gusts, water temperature of 48 degrees and an air temperature of 52 degrees.