Coast Guard helps fishing crew after boat fire

BOSTON- The Coast Guard assisted the two-man crew of a New Bedford, Mass., fishing vessel about 20 miles east of Block Island, R.I., after a fire broke out aboard the vessel around 9 a.m., today.

About 9:15 a.m., Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England received a radio distress call from the captain of the Whileaway, who reported they had a fire in the engine room.

The crew proceeded to remotely discharge the carbon dioxide extinguishing system in the engine room to put out the fire.

No injuries were reported, but the vessel was disabled and adrift.

A Jayhawk rescue helicopter crew was launched from Air Station Cape Cod along with a 47-foot boat crew from Coast Guard Station Menemsha. Coast Guard Cutter Sailfish, an 87-foot vessel from Sandy Hook, N.J., was diverted from a routine patrol.

Coast Guard crews arrived on scene around 10:10 a.m., to assist and will stand-by until a sister ship to the 70-foot vessel arrives to take the disabled vessel in tow.

“The crew of the Whileaway had the necessary knowledge and emergency equipment aboard that allowed them to respond quickly when the fire was discovered,” said Ensign Colin McKee, a search-and-rescue controller at Sector Southeastern New England. “The Coast Guard encourages all mariners to ensure their vessel and crew is ready to handle an emergency at sea.”

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