Coast Guard assists sinking shrimp trawler southeast of Galveston

A Coast Guard Air Station Houston MH-65 Dolphin helicopter

USCG File Photo

HOUSTON – The Coast Guard provided emergency dewatering pumps to a sinking shrimp trawler approximately 80 miles southeast of Galveston early Wednesday morning.

Tuesday at about 9 p.m., a crewmember of the 68-foot shrimping trawler Footprint, with four people aboard, broadcast a mayday over VHF marine band channel 16, which was partially received by Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston watchstanders. The entire transmission was overheard by the vessel Sunshine State, which assisted in relaying the rest of it to the watchstanders. They reported the trawler was taking on water and its onboard pumps were not working fast enough.

A Sector/Air Station Corpus Christi HC-144 Ocean Sentry airplane crew was dispatched along with an Air Station Houston MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew and the Coast Guard Cutter Pompano, an 87-foot patrol boat.

At 1:26 a.m., the helicopter arrived on scene and the crew attempted to lower a rescue swimmer, but was unable to do so due to weather conditions. The aircrew then lowered a dewatering pump, which the trawler crew was able to use to stop the boat from sinking.

The Footprint began making its way towards Freeport at 3:35 a.m., under the escort of the Pompano, and arrived at the Freeport jetties at 11:29 a.m.

The Ocean Sentry aircrew provided air support to maintain visual contact and radio communications while the helicopter was on scene.

The Pompano is homeported in Galveston, Texas.

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