Four Rescued From Disabled Fishing Vessel

Tuesday, January 13, 2004
On January 8, Coast Guard Cutter, Dependable, homeported in Cape May, N.J., received tasking from the First Coast Guard District to assist a fishing vessel that was disabled and adrift approximately 150 miles east of Cape Ann, Massachusetts. The 44-ft. disabled fishing vessel, West Head, had set out from Portland, Maine on Monday, January 5, enroute to Stouts Swell. Amidst bad weather, the crew decided to lay on the anchor on Wednesday and ride out the storm. During the night, while the crew was asleep, the vessel took a wave that crashed over the bow and knocked out the windows to the wheelhouse, destroying most of their electronics and rendering them unable to continue their voyage. The winds were reported at 60 knots sustained, with 20 to 40 foot seas. The crew, awakened by water rushing into the wheelhouse and berthing compartments, immediately began damage control. Craig Durrant, a crewmember onboard West Head, climbed through the broken windows, onto the bow and began to cut the anchor line in an effort to prevent another wave from crashing into the wheel house. The boat’s captain, Dale Sparrow, then began to board the windows with the help of other crewmembers. The crew noticed a tanker off in the distance and called for assistance. The M/V Talisman responded and remained with the West Head until the next morning, advising them that they were drifting towards shoal water and helping them navigate to a safe distance. Meanwhile, Dependable, having been on a Homeland Security patrol off the coast of New York, was enroute to the WEST HEAD. DEPENDABLE arrived on scene 26 hours after the initial call for help, at 4:45 a.m. on Thursday morning and released the TALISMAN from the scene. Lieutenant (junior grade) Marcus Ivery maneuvered the ship alongside the disabled vessel. All four crewmembers were brought onboard the ship and allowed to call family members ashore. DEPENDABLE towed the disabled vessel to a point off the coast of Provincetown, Massachusetts and relieved of the tow by a small boat from Station Provincetown. DEPENDABLE then shifted mission areas yet again and resumed patrol, this time in support of Living Marine Resources Enforcement, as the national threat level was lowered from orange to yellow.

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