Coast Guard helps crew save sinking shrimp boat

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CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A commercial fishing vessel from Brownsville is slowly making its way back to port Tuesday, thanks to some quick actions by its crew and Coast Guard units.

The Coast Guard Sector Corpus Christi Command Center received a distress call from the 68-foot-long shrimping vessel Huachinango, taking on water 37 miles offshore of Baffin Bay at approximately 1:30 p.m. The three people aboard activated two de-watering pumps and started to keep pace with the flooding in the engine compartment. However, the flooding quickly covered the lower half of the engine room and they had difficulty keeping power for the pumps with their generator.

The Coast Guard Cutter Brant, an 87-foot patrol boat on patrol offshore, and an MH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter crew from Sector Corpus Christi were dispatched to assist.

The helicopter arrived on scene first and lowered their rescue swimmer and a de-watering pump to assist the flooded vessel. Almost immediately after the rescue swimmer was aboard, the patrol boat and crew arrived and transferred an additional pump along with their Rescue and Assist Team from the cutter. With adequate pumps, the flooding was under control and the vessel was able to safely begin its transit back to homeport.

“This was an extremely dangerous situation with a potential for electric shock, injury and all the dilemmas of a large vessel sinking out from under you,” said Cmdr. Daniel Deptula, the search and rescue coordinator for Sector Corpus Christi. “Significant teamwork between the Brant, the MH-65 helicopter, the Sector Command Center and the Huachinango ensured the crew makes it home safe to their families tonight.”

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