Ferry rescues fisherman from sinking boat in Puget Sound

The following is the text of a press release from the U.S. Coast Guard: 

(SEATTLE) — The Coast Guard assisted in the rescue of one person after his vessel began taking on water near Guemes Island, Wash., Wednesday.

At approximately 5 p.m. Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound received a mayday call from Clam Digger, a 59-foot fishing vessel, reporting that it was taking on water with one person aboard.

Sector Puget Sound issued an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast alerting local mariners in the area to the person in distress and diverted a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium boat crew from Coast Guard Station Bellingham, Wash. to assist.

The Victoria Clipper ferry responded to the UMIB and arrived on scene at approximately 5:11 p.m. and assisted the person off of his life raft. Station Bellingham’s boat crew arrived on scene and transferred the person off the ferry.

The boat crew remained on scene to monitor the situation.

Clam Digger has since run aground on Guemes Island, with approximately three feet of the vessel's bow remaining above the waterline.

U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Osprey relieved the RB – M boat crew at approximately 7:39 p.m. and remains on scene.

The vessel is reported to be carrying approximately 2,700 – 3,000 gallons of diesel fuel. Coast Guard assets reported a rainbow sheen surrounding the vessel, spanning approximately 500 feet.

The owner of the vessel has contracted with Global Diving and Salvage to recover Clam Digger. Coast Guard Incident Management Division is coordinating with the owner and GDS to mitigate the pollution threat.

If able to do so safely, GDS will stabilize the vessel, close all fuel vents, and remove all oil products from the vessel at the earliest opportunity.

The cause of the incident is under investigation.

By Professional Mariner Staff