Coast Guard responding to capsized fishing vessel

KEY WEST, Fla. — The Coast Guard is responding to a commercial fishing vessel that capsized around noon Thursday, five miles south of Key West.

Coast Guard Sector Key West search-and-rescue coordinators received a call from crewmembers aboard a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration vessel stating they saw and were responding to a 34-foot lobster boat that had capsized, sending two people into the water.

NOAA crewmembers quickly arrived on scene and rescued the two fishermen out of the water.

The fishermen reported that the fishing vessel Carmen started listing and capsized. Coast Guard and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission are investigating the incident.

Coast Guard launched a small boat from Station Key West and a 55-foot aids to navigation boat from Aids to Navigation Team Key West in response to the incident. Coast Guard crewmembers reported the Carmen was partially submerged and was floating vertically with the bow of the vessel sticking out. They also reported the Carmen was leaking diesel fuel.

Coast Guard has opened the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund and has hired a local commercial salvage company to stop the discharge of the diesel fuel by stabilizing the vessel.

“I’m grateful that the two fishermen were rescued quickly and were unharmed,” said Capt. Pat DeQuattro, Commander Sector Key West. “The Coast Guard is taking actions to protect the environment and recover the vessel.”

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