Coast Guards tows disabled fishing vessel near Point Judith, R.I.

BOSTON- The Coast Guard towed a disabled commercial fishing vessel taking on water and in danger of grounding near Point Judith, R.I., this afternoon.

The Mistress, a 56-foot fishing trawler, began taking on water Tuesday night about three miles northeast of Block Island. However, the water pumps were unable to keep up with the flooding and by 6 a.m., the crew aboard the Mistress called Coast Guard Station Point Judith to report the engine room had flooded and the vessel was adrift.

The Coast Guard issued a radio-based marine assistance broadcast requesting any vessels in the area to assist the Mistress.

The Mistress also contacted its sister ship, the 67-foot stern trawler Second Wind, that arrived, and placed the Mistress in tow. The pair headed towards Point Judith where both vessels are home ported.

A 47-foot rescue boat from Coast Guard Station Point Judith also responded.

By 11:30 a.m., the two vessels neared the entrance to the outer harbor of Point Judith.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Tim Burns, the coxswain of the 47-foot rescue boat, said the towlines from the Second Wind parted and the Mistress was in danger of grounding against the break wall of the harbor refuge.

“We had about 30 seconds before they [Mistress] were on the rocks,” said Burns.

He added his crew reacted quickly and threw several heaving lines to the Mistress and took it in tow.

“If we hadn’t thrown those heaving lines over they would have been in trouble,” said Burns, and that this kind of towing scenario is something Coast Guard boat crews regularly train for.

Once the Mistress was towed into the inner harbor at Point Judith Pond another Coast Guard crew on a 27-foot rescue boat boarded the flooded fishing vessel with dewatering pumps.

The engine room was pumped out and the Mistress was safely moored by 2:30 p.m.

No injuries were reported.

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