Video: USCG Evacuates Crew of Sinking Fishing Vessel off Sitka

Courtesy USCG

Published Feb 8, 2022 10:22 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Coast Guard rescued two fishermen from their sinking vessel on Monday in Islet Passage, a sheltered bay near Sitka, Alaska.

Watchstanders in the Sector Juneau Command Center received a call requesting assistance from the fishing vessel Glory at about 2000 hours on Monday. The command center dispatched a Jayhawk rescue helicopter crew to assist the vessel, which was located about nine miles to the south of Sitka. 

On scene, the seas were mild at about 5 feet and temperatures were above freezing, but the wind was severe and gusting to 55 miles per hour. Upon arrival, the aircrew lowered a rescue swimmer to assess the vessel, which was taking on water. The fishermen were unable to stop the source of the flooding, and the rescue swimmer advised the fisherman to abandon ship. 

Using a rescue basket, the aircrew hoisted the two fishermen off the boat's small foredeck at about 2100 hours, leaving the Glory behind. 

"This successful case highlighted the importance of mariner preparedness," said Lt. Cmdr. Scott Woodcock, the helicopter pilot on the mission. "The biggest challenge during this rescue was the severe winds; however, the fishermen were well prepared with good communication equipment and survival gear."

Glory is the second fishing boat to go down near Sitka within the span of a year. The Haida Lady sank near Cobb Island just south of Sitka in March 2021, resulting in a spill of diesel fuel. An estimated 1,500 gallons of diesel were on board at the time of the sinking, and the operator contracted with a local salvage company to assist with cleanup.