Coast Guard searching for New Jersey fishing boat after receiving emergency beacon alert

CGC Vigorous File Photo

CGC Vigorous File Photo

BOSTON – The Coast Guard is searching for a New Jersey-based fishing vessel and its crew off the coast of Rockport, Mass., after receiving an alert from the boat’s emergency beacon Monday, November 08, 2010.

The Coast Guard Fifth District Command Center in Portsmouth, Va., received an alert from a 406 MHz emergency position indicating radio beacon on board the 140-foot fishing vessel Retriever at 5:15 a.m., Monday.

Using the Vessel Monitoring System (VMS), the Coast Guard determined the boat’s last known postion was about six to seven miles off the coast of Rockport at 4:20 a.m.

Due to the last known location of the vessel, the Fifth District passed the case to the First District Command Center in Boston.

Coast Guard crews at the First District Command Center have been unable to contact the four-person Retriever crew via phone, radio or email.

The command center directed two 47-foot boat crews from Coast Guard Station Merrimack River, an MH60 Jayhawk helicopter crew and a Falcon jet crew from Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod, and the Coast Guard cutters Reliance, Vigorous and Grand Isle to begin a search for the Cape May, NJ, crew.

The Coast Guard will continue to efforts to contact the vessel and track its location using VMS.

VMS is managed by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration and is one of many tools the Coast Guard uses to monitor vessels underway for law enforcement and search and rescue. The system uses electronic transmitters placed on fishing vessels to transmit information about the vessel’s position to the Coast Guard via satellite.

The Reliance is a 210-foot cutter based in Portsmouth, NH, the Vigorous is a 210-foot cutter based in Cape May, NJ, and the Grand Isle is a 110-foot cutter based in Gloucester, Mass.

The current on scene weather is 25-30 knots winds, gusting to 40 knots and 15-foot seas. The water temperature is 50 degrees.

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