Coast Guard assists fishing vessel taking on water near Fairweather Ground, Alaska

JUNEAU, Alaska — A Coast Guard aircrew assisted a fishing vessel taking on water with four people aboard in the vicinity of Fairweather Ground approximately 49 miles southeast of Lituya Bay Friday morning.

The 53-foot fishing vessel Pacific Star received assistance from Coast Guard aircrews and the good Samaritan vessel Sherrie Marie before getting back underway to Sitka.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Juneau received a report that the 53-foot Pacific Star began taking on water after 9 p.m. Thursday. The captain of the Pacific Star reported taking on water through a hatch on the aft part of the vessel. All donned survival suits and proceeded toward Lituya Bay. Sector Juneau issued an Urgent Marine Information Bulletin and launched two aircrews to assist, one Coast Guard Air Station Sitka MH-60 Jayhawk crew and one HC-130 Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak crew. The tug Bering Titan was about 19 miles south of the Pacific Star’s position and escorted the vessel in case the situation deteriorated.

At approximately 10 p.m. Thursday, while on scene, an Air Station Sitka MH-60 Jayhawk crew lowered a dewatering pump to the Pacific Star. The captain reported that pumps were keeping up with the flooding and decided to continue sailing closer to shore. An HC-130 aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak remained overhead and maintained communications with the Pacific Star while the Jayhawk aircrew refueled in Yakutat.

At 8 a.m. the Pacific Star safely made its transit to Graves Harbor, where the vessel could dewater and make repairs after determining that the vessel was taking on water through a leaky hatch. The fishing vessel Sherrie Marie was anchored nearby in Graves Harbor and also provided assistance to the vessel.

“Good Samaritans play a key role in many situations encountered in southeast Alaska,” said Lt. Kailee Evereteze, command duty officer, Sector Juneau. “They often  provide critical communications and other assistance to mariners in remote areas with often poor communications coverage.”

Weather on scene was 9 to 11-mph winds and 3 to 4-foot seas.

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