Coast Guard frees sea turtle entangled in fishing trap line near Cape May

Petty Officer 3rd Class Mason Sanders and Petty Officer 2nd Class Carliene Lyon work to free a sea turtle tangled in a fishing trap line while Fireman Jason Breckner assists, August 13, 2020, near Cape May, New Jersey. The crew from Coast Guard Cutter Shearwater noticed sharks swarming as they arrived on scene and immediately launched their small boat to help the turtle free. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Seaman Grimaud Kouwenaar)

Petty Officer 3rd Class Mason Sanders and Petty Officer 2nd Class Carliene Lyon work to free a sea turtle tangled in a fishing trap line while Fireman Jason Breckner assists, August 13, 2020, near Cape May, New Jersey.  (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Seaman Grimaud Kouwenaar)

CAPE MAY, N.J. — The Coast Guard rescued a sea turtle entangled in a fishing trap line 11 miles southeast of Cape May, Thursday afternoon.

Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay command center received a call from the Marine Mammal Stranding Center, who reported the turtle was entangled in a fishing trap line.

Command center watchstanders directed the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Shearwater, an 87-foot patrol boat, to the scene to locate the turtle.

While coordinating rescue efforts with the MMSC, the Coast Guard crew moved into action when they spotted sharks encircling the turtle.

The crew of the Shearwater launched a team aboard the ship’s small boat, who began to circle the ailing turtle until the sharks dispersed. Crewmembers then cautiously approached the turtle and used tools to cut it free.

“This was the proudest day I’ve had on this cutter,” said Master Chief Petty Officer Anthony Martinez, Officer in Charge of the Shearwater. “Everybody on the crew rallied around and worked together, and we were able to save that turtle.”


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