Coast Guard tows disabled fishing vessel ahead of storm

BOSTON – The Coast Guard is towing a disabled fishing vessel with six people aboard about 125 miles southeast of Nantucket, Mass., to get out of the way of an approaching storm.

The McKinley, a 94-foot lobster boat from Fall River, Mass., contacted Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England around 10:20 p.m., Sunday after the vessel’s transmission failed, and requested assistance due to the upcoming storm.

The National Weather Service is predicting 30 – 40 knot winds with seas building to 14 – 19 feet tonight. Coast Guard shore units are issuing safety broadcasts via VHF/FM radio to inform mariners of the approaching storm. Additionally, an HU-25 Falcon jet from Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod is providing storm information to off-shore mariners.

Sector Southeastern New England broadcasted a request on VHF marine radio for vessels in the area to assist the McKinley, but none responded.

A boarding team from the Coast Guard Cutter Tahoma, a 270-foot medium endurance cutter from Kittery, Maine, boarded the McKinley to perform a safety inspection and to assist the vessel’s crew with repairs. The cutter’s crew was unable to quickly repair the transmission, and the cutter is now towing the vessel to Nomans Land, Mass.

The boarding team will continue to assist the crew of the McKinley with repairs during the transit to Nomans Island.

“With the upcoming severe weather, the McKinley did the best thing by calling the Coast Guard for assistance,” said Lt. j.g. Andrew Madjeska, a search and rescue controller with the First Coast Guard District in Boston. “The ocean can be a very unforgiving place when the weather gets that severe.”

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