Watchstanders at the Coast Guard Sector North Carolina command center received a mayday call from a person aboard the 35-foot fishing boat Double G stating there was a fire onboard and they were taking on water. The two people aboard donned their life jackets, took a satellite phone and prepared to abandon ship into a life raft.
Sector North Carolina watchstanders issued an urgent marine information broadcast and launched a 47-foot motor lifeboat boatcrew from Coast Guard Station Fort Macon, N.C., to the scene.
The USNS Patuxent (T-AO-201) who was in the area, heard the UMIB and also launched a helicopter aircrew to assist with the rescue.
Once on scene, the Station Fort Macon boatcrew was able to safely recover the two people unharmed from the life raft and transfer them back to Station Fort Macon where family was waiting.
TowBoatUS reported to Sector North Carolina that the Double G sank outside of the channel approximately seven miles south of Beaufort Inlet in 60-feet of water.
No injuries were reported.
“This search and rescue case was a textbook abandon ship evolution,” said Cmdr. Tracy Wirth, deputy sector commander for Coast Guard Sector North Carolina. “The mariners did everything right to save their own lives by using the correct lifesaving equipment available to them, to include their VHF radio, life jackets, life raft, EPIRB, and strobe lights. The simple use of this equipment can mean the difference between life and death, and this positive outcome is based on the mariner’s own emergency preparedness by simply having the equipment and more importantly knowing how to use it.”
“On the pollution aspect of the incident, TowBoatUS monitored the vessel throughout the entirety of the fire,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Tom Agzigian, a marine science technician from Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Fort Macon. “After the vessel sank, they reported no discharge of fuel or oil into the water. Due to the size of the fire, length of time it burned, and thick black smoke, it is presumed that any diesel fuel and lubricating oil that was on board was burnt up in the fire with no recoverable products left.”