Coast Guard rescues 4 after boat catches fire near Cape May, NJ

A Coast Guard 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew from Station Cape May, New Jersey, approaches the adrift fishing vessel Ocean Pearl about 16 miles southeast of Cape May, Dec. 8, 2018. The four people aboard the Ocean Pearl abandoned ship and were rescued from their life raft after an electrical fire ignited on board. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Brent Tilley/Released)

A Coast Guard 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew from Station Cape May, New Jersey, approaches the adrift fishing vessel Ocean Pearl about 16 miles southeast of Cape May, Dec. 8, 2018. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Brent Tilley/Released)

PHILADELPHIA — The Coast Guard rescued four people from a life raft after a commercial fishing vessel caught fire about 16 miles southeast of Cape May, New Jersey, this morning.

Crew members aboard the 75-foot fishing vessel Ocean Pearl activated Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons and abandoned ship after an electrical fire ignited on board around 10:30 a.m.

Once aboard their life raft, the Ocean Pearl’s crew used a handheld radio to contact watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay’s command center via VHF-FM channel 16.

Two Coast Guard 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crews from Coast Guard Station Cape May and the crew of Coast Guard Cutter Crocodile, an 87-foot patrol boat homeported in Cape May, launched to assist.

When the Coast Guard crews arrived on scene, they found the four men dressed in survival suits aboard the life raft. One of the RB-M crews took the men aboard and brought them ashore. No injuries were reported.

The Ocean Pearl’s owner is coordinating the salvage of the vessel, which is adrift near the mouth of the Delaware Bay. Cutter Crocodile’s crew is remaining on scene to monitor the salvage.

“In the winter, the marine environment is rougher and colder,” said David Umberger, command duty officer at the Sector Delaware Bay command center. “This case might not have had such a good outcome if the captain and crew of the Ocean Pearl hadn’t been prepared for an emergency. Keeping a properly-registered EPIRB, well-maintained cold-water survival gear and functioning communications equipment on board your vessel will save your life.”

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