Tanker aids in rescue of 42 from fishing vessel

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

(HONOLULU) — The Coast Guard successfully coordinated the rescue of 42 people who abandoned ship when their fishing vessel American Eagle caught fire approximately 1,800 miles south of the Hawaiian Islands on Wednesday.

An HC-130 Hercules airplane crew from Air Station Barbers Point arrived on scene at 5:10 p.m. (HST), established communications with the fishing vessel's crew and dropped a dewatering pump, flash lights and flares.

Fong Seong 888, a Tuvalu-flagged oil tanker, arrived on scene at 5:30 p.m. (HST) to offer additional assistance.

The captain of American Eagle reported smoke had lessened from the disabled fishing vessel and boarded the vessel with eight crewmembers to suppress the fire. The captain reported the fire extinguished and the vessel to be in stable condition. The team of nine were able to restart the generator, re-establish electricity and maintain communication. The remaining 33 crewmembers were successfully recovered from their life rafts, work boats and skiff by Fong Seong 888.

American Eagle's sister ship, American Victory, is en route and expected to arrive in three days to relieve Fong Seong 888.

The crewmembers aboard the 258-foot, U.S.-flagged fishing vessel abandoned ship at 10 a.m. (HST) into two life rafts, three work boats and one skiff. An emergency position indicating radio beacon was activated and continues to transmit information.

Watch standers at the Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Honolulu received notification from the vessel’s company American Eagle Fishing LLC at 8:38 a.m. (HST) of a fire aboard the vessel.

No injuries have been reported.

By Professional Mariner Staff