At 2:16 am on Friday, December 5, 2014, crew from the F/V TITAN called The Coast Guard Sector Columbia River to report they had grounded off the A-jetty on the north side of the Columbia River near Ilwaco, WA. The 78-foot vessel's engine room was flooding and dewatering efforts had failed.
The Coast Guard responded by sending a 47-foot Motor Life Boat (MLB) crew from Cape Disappointment and a Jayhawk helicopter crew from Astoria, Oregon. They transferred a dewatering pump to the TITAN crew, but the flooding could not be stopped. The five TITAN crew members then donned their survival suits, lowered the anchor to help secure the vessel, and stepped onto the MLB. No injuries were reported.
“The professionalism of the fishing vessel crew was a huge factor in this case,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Elizabeth Wakefield, operations specialist and Sector Columbia River search and rescue coordinator. “Their ability to stay calm and focused in a stressful situation enabled our personnel to rescue them safely.”
The TITAN, homeported in Warrenton, OR, was reported to be carrying 40,000 lbs. of Dungeness crab as well as 3500 gallons of diesel fuel on board. A sheen has been seen on the water; Global Diving and Salvage is contracted to clean up the fuel and conduct salvage operations.
The Coast Guard is investigating the cause of the grounding and will monitor the clean up. An overflight of the scene by a Coast Guard helicopter is planned.
This is the second Coast Guard rescue of Dungeness crab boat crews around Oregon in the last week - first the BLAZER, and now the TITAN. It will be interesting to read the Coast Guard investigation reports when they are published.