Three rescued as tug Joe Foss sinks off Oregon coast

The following is the text of a press release issued by the U.S. Coast Guard:
(TILLAMOOK, Ore.) — Three men were rescued after the 45-foot tugboat Joe Foss sank near Tillamook, Ore., today.

Coast Guard Station Tillamook Bay received a call from the crew of the tug at 6:15 a.m. that the vessel was taking on water and sinking eight miles north of Tillamook Bay.  At 6:50 a.m., the crew of the Joe Foss donned survival suits and entered the water as the vessel was going down.  They were picked up by the crew of the fishing vessel Kilchis and later transferred to a 47-foot motor lifeboat from Station Tilamook River.  An HH-60 helicopter crew from Air Station Astoria, Ore., also responded.

The men were taken to Garibaldi, Ore.  No injuries were reported.

This is the second time in three days the Coast Guard has responded to an incident involving the Joe Foss.  Coast Guard Station Quillayute River in La Push, Wash., received a call at approx 8 p.m. Sunday from the crew of the tugboat when their boat began taking on water.

The Joe Foss was traveling from the Seattle area to Depoe Bay, Ore., when they started taking on water 25 nautical miles northwest of the Quillayute River entrance.

Station Quillayute River launched a 47-foot Motor Lifeboat (MLB) crew to assist the Joe Foss with dewatering efforts and to escort the vessel into the safe harbor of La Push, Wa.

The escort lasted 13 hours due to heavy weather and required a second MLB boat crew to be launched to continue the escort.  Through the course of dewatering the vessel, two P-6 pumps were used to remove 200 gallons of water and a damage control kit from one of the MLB’s aided in slowing the flow of water.

The Joe Foss and its crew of three were safely moored in LaPush Harbor by 9 a.m. Monday morning.  The crew was cited for documentation and fire extinguisher violations but nothing was found that may have contributed to today’s sinking.

 The cause of the sinking is under investigation. 

By Professional Mariner Staff