Tug sinks 3 days after surviving a close call

Three men were rescued from the Pacific Ocean after their 45-foot tugboat sank off the coast of Oregon. Just three days earlier, the Coast Guard had provided an escort to the vessel, which was taking on water.

Coast Guard Station Tillamook Bay, Ore., received a call from the crew of the Joe Foss at 0615 on Jan. 23 reporting that the vessel was sinking eight miles north of Tillamook Bay. At 0650, the crew 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 and later transferred to a 47-foot motor lifeboat (MLB) from Coast Guard Station Tillamook 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 was the second time the Coast Guard had rescued the crew of Joe Foss on their way down the coast. Coast Guard Station Quillayute River in La Push, Wash., had received a call at about 2000 on Jan. 20 from the tug when it began taking on water 25 miles offshore. The station launched a 47-foot MLB that delivered two pumps and a damage-control kit.

The escort continued through the night and required a second MLB to take over the mission, which lasted 13 hours until the Joe Foss was safely moored in La Push harbor at 0900. The crew was cited for documentation and fire extinguisher violations, but nothing was found that might have contributed to the sinking shortly thereafter.

By Professional Mariner Staff