GRAYS HARBOR — The U.S. Coast Guard rescued five fishermen from a sinking fishing vessel 19 miles southwest of Grays Harbor on Oct. 7.
Coast Guard watchstanders at Sector Columbia River received a distress call from the captain of the 56-foot Taplow that the vessel was taking on water, their engine half-flooded and pumps no longer working. The watchstanders directed the crew to activate their emergency radio beacon and don immersion suits. An emergency mariner broadcast was issued.
The Coast Guard dispatched a 52-foot motor lifeboat crew from Station Grays Harbor and an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Astoria in Warrenton. Another helicopter crew from the air station, who had landed at Grays Harbor for a personnel transfer, also responded. The helicopter at Grays Harbor arrived first, delivered a pump and remained on scene until relieved by the second helicopter crew. A rescue swimmer was then deployed to assist with the dewatering and await the arrival of the motor lifeboat crew. When on scene, the motor lifeboat crew noticed the fishing vessel listing to starboard. With dewatering efforts failing, the fishermen were advised to abandon ship. They boarded the motor lifeboat and were transported to Grays Harbor.
“This crew did everything they could to save their ship and were well prepared in the event of an emergency,” said Chief Michael Guerrero, a command duty officer with the sector. “This kind of preparation saves lives and in this case expedited the rescue of these fishermen.” The Taplow is believed to have sunk in more than 300 feet of water with potentially several hundred gallons of diesel on board.