Coast Guard responds to help fishermen stranded 45 miles off Portland, ME

Coast Guard Cutter Spencer crew members prepare to tow the disabled fishing vessel Jocka, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016, off the coast of Portland, Maine. Jocka became disabled due to engine problems. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

Coast Guard Cutter Spencer crew members prepare to tow the disabled fishing vessel Jocka, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016, off the coast of Portland, Maine. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

BOSTON — The Coast Guard is towing a 65-foot fishing boat with four people aboard Thursday, 45 miles southeast of Portland, Maine.

At approximately 7:30 a.m. Wednesday a crew member aboard the fishing boat Jocka used a VHF-FM radio to contact Coast Guard watchstanders to report their engine was disabled and they needed assistance.

The crew aboard the 110-foot Coast Guard Cutter Ocracoke, homeported in South Portland, Maine, responded to the hail for help and diverted to assist the stranded fishermen.

Ocracoke arrived on-scene at approximately 3:15 p.m. Wednesday, but was unable to get Jocka in tow due to weather conditions.

Coast Guard Cutter Spencer, a 270-foot Medium Endurance Cutter homeported in Boston, was diverted to assist and arrived on scene at approximately 6 a.m. Thursday.

Spencer’s crew was able to establish a tow and began making way toward Portland, Maine. Spencer was scheduled to pass the tow to a 47-foot Motor Lifeboat crew from Coast Guard Station South Portland Thursday afternoon.

On scene weather was 10-foot seas and 20-knot winds.

“Our crews experienced extremely difficult weather conditions making this tow anything but routine,” said Cmdr. Jamie Frederick, chief of response for Coast Guard Sector Northern New England.

The Jocka is homeported in Rockport, Massachusetts.

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