Tuesday, July 26, 2016

8 Rescued from Commercial Vessel Fire

By Mark Edward Nero

On July 21, the US Coast Guard helped rescue eight crewmembers from a burning US-flagged commercial fishing vessel two miles offshore of the Hawaiian island of Oahu.

All eight people are safe after a rescue and assist team from US Coast Guard Cutter Galveston Island (WPB-1349) fought and extinguished an engine room fire aboard fishing vessel Lady Anna two miles south of Honolulu Harbor. “We were in the right place at the right time,” Galveston Island Commanding Officer Lt. Ryan Ball said.

The rescue was a combined effort between the Galveston Island crew, watch standers at Sector Honolulu and rescue boat crews from Station Honolulu and Honolulu Fire Department.

“I’m happy that we were able to help and I’m proud of my crew for their quick and effective response in putting out the fire,” Ball added. “The reason why we do training is to ensure that in an emergency situation such as this, we can perform safely and effectively.”

The USCG response to the incident came after watch standers at Sector Honolulu Command Center overheard a transmission at 4:30 p.m. regarding a fire aboard the 78-foot fishing vessel. Watch standers established communication with the vessel, directed the launch of a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew from Station Honolulu and diverted the nearby Galveston Island crew to assist.

Once on scene, the Galveston Island crew reported black smoke billowing from the engine room. The RB-M crew arrived on scene and safely disembarked the crew from the fishing vessel. The cutter’s rescue and assist team then boarded the Lady Anna to investigate the smoke. When approaching the engine room, the team identified flames coming from the generator and successfully extinguished the fire.

The international crewmembers from the fishing vessel were transferred to the commercial fishing vessel Sapphire III due to lack of clearance. Two US crewmembers were safely transferred to Pier 38. No injuries were reported. The Lady Anna, which is homeported in Honolulu, was towed to Pier 17 by a water taxi after a marine surveyor deemed the vessel seaworthy and not in danger of taking on water or having a fire re-flash.

Coast Guard Sector Honolulu personnel are investigating the cause of the fire.