East Hawaii News

Crew Members Safe Following Vessel Fire South of Hawai’i

February 11, 2016, 8:19 AM HST
* Updated February 11, 1:41 PM
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Forty-two crew members aboard the fishing vessel American Eagle were rescued Wednesday evening.

The United States Coast Guard coordinated the rescue after the crew members abandoned ship when it caught fire 1,800 miles south of the state.

A Coast Guard HC-130 airplane crew from Air Station Barbers Point arrived at the location at 5:10 p.m. Hawai’i time. The Coast Guard crew established communications with the fishing vessel’s crew and dropped a dewatering pump, flash lights, and flares.

In addition to the Coast Guard crew, Fong Seong 888, a Tuvalu-flagged oil tanker, arrived on scene at 5:30 p.m. to offer assistance.

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American Eagle’s captain reported smoke had decreased making it possible for boarding of the ship with eight crew members to suppress the fire. The fire was reportedly extinguished and the vessel was in stable condition. The team of nine who boarded the ship were able to restart the generator, reestablish electricity, and maintain communication. Fong Seong 888 took aboard the remaining 33 crew members who were in life rafts, work boats, and a skiff.

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As of 8 p.m. Wednesday, American Eagle’s sister ship, American Victory, was en route to relieve the Fong Seong 888. The ship is slated to arrive within three days.

Watchstanders at the Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Honolulu initially received notification of a fire aboard the ship from the vessel’s company, American Eagle Fishing LLC, at 8:38 a.m. Hawai’i time on Wednesday.

The 42 crew members aboard the 258-foot U.S. flagged ship abandoned the vessel at 10 a.m. Hawai’i time on Wednesday.

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