Escanaba responds to emergency at sea off Northeast

Crew members assigned to the USCGC Escanaba take the small boat on a search and rescue evolution to assist a fishing vessel off the coast of Boston. The USCGC Escanaba (WMEC 907) is a 270-foot Famous-class medium endurance cutter with a crew of around 100 conducting many of the service's missions, emphasizing law enforcement. (U. S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Dyxan Williams.)

Crew members assigned to the USCGC Escanaba take the small boat on a search and rescue evolution to assist a fishing vessel off the coast of Boston.  (U. S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Dyxan Williams.)

BOSTON – The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Escanaba (WMEC 907) responded to a report from the 91-foot fishing vessel Donny C crew stating they were taking on water approximately 110 nautical miles southeast of Nantucket.

The Escanaba crew assisted the fishermen in controlling the flooding before safely escorting them to homeport in New Bedford.

Upon receiving the call, the First District command center launched Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod aircrews on an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter and HC-144A Ocean Sentry to assist and rescue the fishers. Escanaba heard the call at 10:45 a.m. and diverted. Good Samaritans on the fishing vessels Blue Wave and Temptress also responded.

The crew said the vessel’s two dewatering pumps aboard were not keeping up with the flooding, and they were preparing to abandon the ship in 10 to 15-foot waves. Ten minutes later, the First District command center received word a crewman aboard the 78-foot scalloper Andrea A was experiencing a loss of feeling and mobility in his legs. With Escanaba en route, the aircrews were diverted to the Andrea A. The MH-60 aircrew successfully hoisted the man aboard and transported him to Air Station Cape Cod, where emergency medical services were waiting.

Meanwhile, Escanaba arrived on the scene and launched their small boat with crew and equipment to assist. The crew consisted of Chief Boatswains Mate Mike Emmons as the coxswain, Petty Officer 3rd Class Ryan Dawson as the engineer, Ensign Darden Purrington, Petty Officer 2nd Class Ryan Frattaroli, and Petty Officer 3rd Class Hunter Hendricks.

“Primary objective was making sure everybody on the vessel and our crew was safe,” said Emmons. “Safety is paramount. I was being tested a little bit in the conditions, but everything was safe.”

Once they arrived at the Donny C, they passed over a P6 pump to assist the vessel’s crew with dewatering. There were three pumps aboard the Donny C at the time. With the fourth pump, the vessel crew was able to find the source of the water intrusion and stop it. The response crew then made sure the vessel and crew were safe before returning to the USCGC Escanaba. The cutter’s crew then escorted the fishing vessel and crew to New Bedford.

“The Escanaba responded appropriately with search and rescue experience,” said Chief Petty Officer Kevin Hampton, the operations chief aboard Escanaba. “We were successfully able to maintain communication with the vessel crew the entire time and assist with dewatering the vessel before escorting them back to their homeport.”

During the operation, the Escanaba worked with the U.S. Coast Guard First District staff out of Boston. The First District command center coordinates most search and rescue missions this far out at sea off the Northeast. The USCGC Escanaba is a 270-foot Famous-class medium endurance cutter with a crew of around 100 that conducts many of the Coast Guard’s missions, emphasizing law enforcement and providing a search and rescue element.

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