Tuesday, February 16, 2016

42 Rescued After Fishing Vessel Fire Near Hawaii

By Mark Edward Nero

Forty-two people were rescued last week after abandoning a fishing vessel that caught fire Feb. 10 about 1,800 miles south of the Hawaiian Islands, according to the US Coast Guard.

The 42 crewmembers aboard the 258-foot US-flagged fishing vessel abandoned ship at 10 a.m. local time into two life rafts, three workboats and one skiff.

Crewmembers later successfully dewatered the 40-year-old fishing vessel, the American Eagle, using equipment dropped by an HC-130 Hercules airplane crew from Air Station Barbers Point.

The American Eagle’s captain later reported the fire extinguished and the vessel to be in stable condition. A team of nine was able to restart the generator, reestablish electricity and maintain communication, while the remaining 33 crewmembers were successfully recovered from their life rafts, workboats and skiff by the Fong Seong 888, a Tuvalu-flagged oil tanker.

In the aftermath of the incident, the Fong Seong 888 remained on-scene to provide additional support, according to the USCG, and American Eagle’s sister ship, American Victory, arrived early this week to relieve the Fong Seong 888.

Thirty crewmembers are currently aboard the fishing vessel cleaning and assessing damage caused after the fire broke out, according to the USCG’s Honolulu-based 14th District headquarters.