Coast Guard Station Valdez crew rescues three fisherman in the Valdez Narrows

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – A Coast Guard Station Valdez small boat rescue crew safely recovered three fishermen off a beach in the Valdez Narrows Thursday after the Seward-based 58-foot fishing vessel Copasetic reportedly started taking on water and was intentionally grounded to prevent it from sinking or impeding vessel traffic in the area.

Jonathan Wilkie, Derrick Branson and Joshua Zimmerman, Seward residents, were rescued after Coast Guard Sector Anchorage Command Center received a call for help at 3:15 a.m. and immediately launched the Station Valdez rescue crew.

After reporting the vessel was taking on water, Wilkie, owner and operator, and his crew brought their vessel to the shore where they securely anchored and then abandoned ship. The crew used a small skiff on board to safely transit to the beach and await rescue.

There were no reported health concerns or injuries with the three rescued fishermen.

The crew of the Copasetic reported no more than 1,000 gallons of diesel and 400 gallons of gasoline were aboard the grounded vessel. There was no visible pollution reported by the Coast Guard rescue crew.

The fishing vessel grounding has not impeded vessel traffic in the area, the port of Valdez and the Valdez Narrows remain open.

Wilkie is arranging to safely remove the vessel from the shore.

Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Valdez is investigating the incident and will monitor vessel salvage efforts.

Weather in the area was reported as calm seas with light rain.

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