Three Fishermen Rescued in Rhode Island Sound

WOODS HOLE, Mass. – Three fishermen were saved this afternoon after they were forced to abandon ship into the frigid waters of Rhode Island Sound.

At 3:12 p.m., the fishing vessel Gertrude H relayed a mayday call to Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England. The Gertrude H reported that they heard the mayday from the fishing vessel Seamus Liam stating that the engine room was nearly full of water, there was no way to stop the flooding, and that they were roughly nine miles south of Newport, R.I.

Upon receiving this report, Search and Rescue Specialist Scott Backholm from Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England immediately issued an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast (UMIB) in the hopes that other vessels in the area could quickly assist. Sector Southeastern New England also diverted four resources to the scene, including a 47-foot Motor Lifeboat from Station Point Judith, a 27-foot Response Boat from Station Point Judith, a 41-foot Utility Boat from Station Castle Hill, and the 87-foot Cutter Tigershark home-ported in Newport, RI.

All three vessels were underway at the time for training and immediately diverted to rescue the distressed fishermen.

In addition to Coast Guard resources, four fishing vessels in the area responded to the Coast Guard’s UMIB.

At 3:33 p.m. the Response Boat from Station Point Judith and the fishing vessel Terminator spotted a red flare as they rushed to the scene. The fishing vessel Terminator was the first to arrive and recovered the three fishermen from their life raft.

The three men from the Seamus Liam had entered the water as their vessel sunk and did not have time to don immersion suits. Fortunately, the men had a properly-installed life raft and were able to quickly get out of the 43 degree water. The men had been on the life raft for about twenty minutes before being rescued.

The fishing vessel Terminator brought all three men to their home port of Sakonnet Harbor, R.I. with an escort provided by the Cutter Tigershark’s small boat.

The Coast Guard reminds the public that the New England waters are extremely hazardous during the winter months. During this season, boaters should have the proper safety equipment on board to protect themselves from the elements.

The Coast Guard thanks the fishing vessels Terminator, Gertrude H, and all others who responded to assist in this case.

Source: USCG D1 Public Affairs

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