The U.S. Coast Guard rescued 13 people from a sinking fishing vessel on Friday, October 28th after the vessel collided with a container ship. The 115-foot F/V TREMONT was about 60 miles off the coast of Virginia, just southeast of Chincoteague at the time of the accident.
Watchstanders at the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Virginia received a mayday call at about 2 a.m. from the F/V TREMONT, stating that they were sinking after colliding with the 1000-foot Panamanian-flagged C/V MSC RITA. It was reported that there were 13 people aboard the fishing vessel, and that they were abandoning ship.
An urgent marine information broadcast was issued to all area vessels, and watchstanders issued the launch of an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew, an HC-130 Hercules airplane crew, a U.S. Coast Guard Station Chincoteague Motor Life Boat, then diverted the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Rollin Fritch. Two additional aircrafts from the U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City in North Carolina were also dispatched.
Two good Samaritan vessels were in the area and arrived on the scene to assist. The ATLANTIS, a research vessel, transferred 12 people to the DRYSTAN. The captain was hoisted from the sinking F/V TREMONT by a U.S. Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew and taken to the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Virginia.
“Safety of life at sea is the Coast Guard’s top priority,” said Capt. Jennifer Stockwell, commander of Sector Virginia. “These are the life-saving missions for which we train each and every day. While this morning’s events were unfortunate, 13 people were rescued from an extremely perilous situation. The combined efforts of good Samaritans and Coast Guard response assets demonstrates a selfless commitment to others.”
The cause of this collision is still being investigated.