ILWACO — The U.S. Coast Guard rescued five fishermen after their fishing vessel, carrying thousands of pounds of Dungeness crab, grounded and began to take on water off the A-Jetty near Ilwaco early Friday morning.
No one from the 78-foot fishing vessel Titan was injured.
Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Columbia River received a distress call at 2:16 a.m. from the crew. The fishermen said they were grounded and taking on water. A motor life boat crew was sent out from Cape Disappointment and an MH-60 Jayhawk crew came from Air Station Astoria in Oregon. The Coast Guard crew passed a dewatering pump to the fishermen, but they were unable to keep up with the flooding and had to abandon the vessel.
“The professionalism of the fishing vessel crew was a huge factor in this case,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Elizabeth Wakefield, operations specialist and Sector Columbia River search and rescue coordinator. “Their ability to stay calm and professional in a stressful situation helped our crews get to them in a quick manner, while ensuring their personal safety.”
The fishing boat, based out of Warrenton, Ore., was reportedly carrying approximately 50,000 pounds of Dungeness grab and 3,500 gallons of diesel fuel at the time of the incident. The Coast Guard does not know how much fuel leaked into the water, but reported that the area smelled like diesel and there was a visible sheen on the water.
The boat’s owner has contracted with Global Diving and Salvage to clean up the fuel and conduct salvage operations. The Coast Guard is investigating the cause of the grounding and will monitor the salvage operations.