Coast Guard responds to two vessels in distress, tows both to Valdez, Alaska

A Coast Guard boat crew from Station Valdez assists mariners with a 28-foot pleasure craft taking on water after they struck a rock near Snug Cove Corner, Alaska, July 5, 2019. There was no report of injuries among the five adults and two children aboard the pleasure craft and the station boat crew safely towed their vessel to Valdez. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Eugenia Bakunova.

A Coast Guard boat crew from Station Valdez assists mariners with a 28-foot pleasure craft taking on water after they struck a rock.  U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Eugenia Bakunova.

JUNEAU, Alaska — Coast Guard boat crews responded to two vessels in distress after one operator had been disabled for over a day and the other operator’s vessel was taking on water, Friday.

Two Coast Guard Station Valdez 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crews safely towed the vessels back to Valdez with no reported injuries.

Coast Guard Sector Anchorage watchstanders received a report Thursday from the operator of the first vessel, a 16-to-18-foot pleasure craft, that they were experiencing engine problems near Hinchinbrook Island and were in need of assistance. Communication with the operator was lost before the position of the vessel could be confirmed.

Sector watchstanders issued an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast, to which a good Samaritan vessel responded and arrived on scene to confirm the vessel’s location and attempted to provide assistance. After the good Samaritan was unable to fix the engine, sector watchstanders issued a Marine Assistance Request Broadcast.

“The area where they were disabled is extremely hard to get cell phone service or radio reception,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Forest Reimann, boatswain’s mate and officer of the day at Station Valdez. “When we went out to find them we had no radio, we couldn’t get any radio calls out to sector or any cell phone service.”

Taking into account the lack of reception where the vessel was disabled and after there was no response to the MARB, the station boat crew launched Friday and conducted the tow.

Around 10:15 a.m. sector watchstanders received a report over VHF channel 16 from an operator aboard the second vessel who stated they had struck a rock and were taking on water near Snug Cove Corner. The operator of the 28-foot pleasure craft reported that there were no injuries to the five adults and two children who were aboard and that the bilge pumps were able to keep up with a small leak through the hull.

Watchstanders issued a UMIB while the second station boat crew launched in response. Once the crew arrived on scene they transferred everyone from the pleasure craft onto their boat and conducted the tow back to Valdez.

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