Coast Guard aircrew assists sinking fishing vessel, saves crew

Hawaii-Pacific Coast Guard News
HONOLULU — Six mariners are safe after their vessel began sinking approximately 173 miles north of Oahu Monday.

At 11:15 a.m., a Good Samaritan notified watchstanders at the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu Command Center that the 66-foot commercial fishing vessel Sea Moon was flooded and dead in the water with crewmembers using buckets to dewater the boat.

The Good Samaritan did not know the position of the vessel, but was able to pass the owner’s information to the Command Center.

The owner provided the vessel’s satellite phone number and at 11:27 a.m., Coast Guard watchstanders established communication with the fishing vessel. The crew reported that the engine room was flooded and that the cause of the flooding was unknown.

They reported no injuries and that they had life jackets, life rafts, flares and an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon aboard.

An HC-130 Hercules airplane crew was diverted with dewatering pumps aboard and an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew launched from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point. The Coast Guard Cutter Ahi, an 87-foot patrol boat homeported in Honolulu, was also launched. The Sea Moon’s sister ship Sapphire also rerouted.

The Hercules crew arrived on-scene at 12:51 p.m. and dropped a dewatering pump to the fishing vessel.

Sea Moon’s crew retrieved the dewatering pump and brought it aboard. The crew was then able to stop the flooding and restart the engine. They are now enroute to Honolulu Harbor and are expected to arrive Tuesday afternoon.

Coast Guard Hercules crews routinely practice dropping a variety of lifesaving materials to mariners in distress. This is especially pertinent in the Pacific where extreme distances can take ships days to reach mariners in need of assistance. In cases such as this where uncontrolled flooding can force mariners to abandon ship, speed is of the essence. The Coast Guard is scheduled to replace the HC-130H with the HC-130J, which is capable of greater speed and range. Likewise, the 87-foot patrol boats are also scheduled for replacement by the new fast response cutter.

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