ANCHORAGE, Alaska – According to a report from the U.S. Coast Guard, on September, 21, 2012, the Coast Guard rescued four men from a life raft after they abandoned their fishing vessel more than 30 miles south of Resurrection Bay. Weather at the time the vessel sank was reported as 20-30 mph winds and 13-foot seas.
Coast Guard Sector Anchorage watchstanders received a mayday call on marine VHF radio channel 16 at 9:01 p.m. from the crew of the 110-foot fishing vessel Moonlight Maid. The crew reported that the vessel was sinking and they were donning survival suits and entering their life raft.
Sector Anchorage watchstanders directed the launch of a Kodiak-based MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew to rescue the men in distress. The helicopter crew located the four individuals in their life raft at 10:51 p.m. The helicopter crew safely hoisted the fishermen and took them to Seward where they were transferred to emergency medical personnel. There were no reported injuries.
“They were prepared for an emergency and did exactly what they needed to do to help ensure their safety,” said Jennifer Lambert, Sector Anchorage watchstander. “They were prepared with the proper survival suits, life raft, an emergency position beacon and proper communications gear. Having this equipment and using it in a correct and timely manner kept them safe until the helicopter arrived.”
This case illustrates the importance of safety training and having the proper safety gear on board in the event of an emergency. In the wake of a vessel sinking, crew members may be contacted by insurance companies to try to immeidately settle their cases before the full extent of their injuries are known. Because the psycholgical effects of such incidents may take time to fully appreciate, quick settlements should be avoided and seaman should consult with a qualified maritime lawyer for a free consultation before accepting any settlement.