Coast Guard escorts fishing crew, research team to safety

ROCKLAND, Maine – A Coast Guard rescue crew here escorted a fishing vessel to shore today after the crew reported their 120-foot boat was taking on water about five miles south of Matinicus Island, Maine.

The crew of the New Bedford, Mass.,-based fishing boat Endurance had a research team from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration aboard and was heading to Portland, Maine, when they started taking on water at about 4:50 a.m.

Via VHF-FM radio, they called Coast Guard Sector Northern New England in Portland to notify them of their situation. The sector launched a 47-foot rescue boat crew from Station Rockland and a Falcon jet crew and Jayhawk rescue helicopter crew from Air Station Cape Cod.

The captain of the Endurance said the ship’s bilge pumps were controlling the flooding, but with concerns one pump might fail, he requested an additional stand-by pump.

The rescue boat crew arrived at 6:25 a.m. The jet crew arrived at about 7 a.m., and because the vessel was stable, the helicopter crew was returned to the air station.

“The fishing crew did everything right and was really well-prepared,” said Chris Berry, an operational unit controller at Sector Northern New England. “First, they had a VHF-FM radio that worked and they used it to call the Coast Guard on channel 16.”

Berry said additionally, the Endurance was well-equipped with working bilge pumps, a certified life raft, a 406 emergency position indicating radio beacon and had recently passed a commercial fishing vessel safety examination.

The 47-foot boat crew put the Endurance on a 15-minute communication schedule and escorted them to the Journey’s End Marina in Rockland.

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