Video: USCG Tows Disabled Fishing Vessel to Safety from Stormy Bering Sea

disabled fishing boat towed to port
The disabled fishing boat was towed 160 miles in challenging winter conditions in the Bearing Sea to reach port (USCG photo)

Published Jan 3, 2024 8:47 PM by The Maritime Executive


An Alaskan fishing trawler, Aleutian No. 1, requested assistance last week from the U.S. Coast Guard after the 200-ton vessel became disabled in the storm winter waters of the Bearing Sea near the remote areas of the Western Aleutians. Despite the challenging conditions, the USCG reports its cutter completed the rescue preventing more serious problems or injuries to the crew.

The 127-foot fishing vessel notified the USCG station last Thursday, December 28, that it had fouled its prop and was unable to conduct repairs. The small vessel with eight people aboard reported it was drifting approximately three miles north of Amchitka Island, 575 miles southwest of Dutch Harbor.

The Coast Guard Cutter Alex Haley was recalled from a mid-patrol break and transited the 575 miles in the Being Sea to assist. The Alex Haley is a 282-foot Medium Endurance Cutter and serves as Alaska’s homeported cutter. It reached the disabled trawler at 1:00 a.m. Saturday.



Conditions were far from ideal for a towing operation. At the time, winds were blowing 30 to 40 mph and the seas were 10 to 15 feet. They reported periodic snow, sleet, and blizzard conditions, with air and water temperatures of 34 degrees.

The Alex Haley took the Aleutian No. 1 in tow, transiting over 160 miles to reach Adak. Arriving in the area on Monday, the Alex Haley transferred the tow to fishing vessel Erla-N, a slightly larger 324 gross ton fishing boat operating out of Adak. The Erla-N completed the operation towing the disabled vessel into Adak where it was moored at the pier with the help of Alex Haley’s cutter boats.

“As an Alaska-homeported cutter, we’re proud to support Alaskan fishermen and, in this case, tow the vessel to safe harbor to effect necessary repairs and avoid a more serious incident,” said Lt. Cmdr. Matthew Lynne, Alex Haley's operations officer. “We train hard to ensure we’re able to provide such assistance when the occasion arises, and our crew executed this mission flawlessly in challenging Bering Sea conditions.”