Coast Guard, Good Samaritans Rescue Crew of Sinking Fishing Vessel

The Coast Guard and good Samaritans aboard two commercial fishing vessels located and rescued the crew of the 52-foot commercial fishing vessel Sea Smile 545 miles southwest of Hawaii on March 3.

Following the rescue, the six crewmembers were reportedly in good condition and made their way to Honolulu aboard the commercial fishing vessel Captain Minh.

At 6:46 p.m. on March 2, Joint Rescue Coordination Center Honolulu (JRCC) watchstanders received a report from the owner of the Sea Smile stating that the vessel was disabled and taking on water. The crew reported that there was five to seven feet of rapidly rising water in the engine room and fish holds and that they could not use dewatering pumps or systems due to a loss of power.

JRCC instructed the captain to activate the vessel’s emergency position indicating radio, which gave watchstanders their position. Once on scene, C-130 aircrews deployed two life rafts, two self-locating datum marker buoys, a VHF radio, survival gear and supplies and a red flare to illuminate the area prior to departing the scene.

At about midnight, the AMVER vessel Ying Rong arrived on scene and took the crewmembers aboard their vessel and waited for the AMVER vessel Captain Minh for further transport to Honolulu.

AMVER, a global voluntary reporting system sponsored by the Coast Guard, is a computer-based global ship-reporting system used by search and rescue authorities to arrange for assistance to persons in distress far at sea.

“Anytime you get word that a crew is preparing to abandon ship, you immediately become worried about the time required to reach the survivors,” Cmdr. Marc McDonnell, operations officer for Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point, said. “Given the remote area, this was a complex case, but our crews train for this exact scenario, and we are fortunate to say that the training paid off.”