Maui News

Update: 42 People Safe After Abandoning Ship South of Hawaiʻi

February 10, 2016, 2:19 PM HST
* Updated February 11, 6:59 AM
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UPDATE: 8:15 p.m. 2/10/15

The Coast Guard successfully coordinated the rescue of 42 people who abandoned ship when their fishing vessel American Eagle caught fire approximately 1,800 miles south of the Hawaiian Islands on Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016.

A Coast Guard airplane crew from Air Station Barbers Point arrived on scene at 5:10 p.m., and dropped a dewatering pump, flash lights and flares to the vessel’s crew.

The captain reported that smoke had lessened from the disabled fishing boat. and boarded the vessel with eight crew members to suppress the fire. The fire has since been extinguished and the vessel is in stable condition. The team of nine were able to restart the generator, reestablish electricity and maintain communication.

The remaining 33 crew members were successfully recovered from their life rafts, work boats and skiff by the Fong Seong 888, a Tuvalu-flagged oil tanker that was diverted to the scene to assist. No injuries were reported.

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Coast Guard officials say American Eagle’s sister ship, American Victory, is en route and expected to arrive in three days to relieve the oil tanker.

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The Coast Guard is responding to a report of 40 people abandoning ship after their fishing vessel American Eagle caught fire approximately 1,800 miles south of the Hawaiian Islands on Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016.

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An HC-130 Hercules airplane crew from Air Station Barbers Point is expected to arrive on scene at approximately 5 p.m. HST today.  The Coast Guard also issued an urgent marine information broadcast.

A Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules airplane crew conducts a pre-flight brief prior to launching from Air Station Barbers Point in response to a report of 40 people abandoning ship south of the Hawaiian Islands, Feb. 10, 2016. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Sarah Bradley)

A Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules airplane crew conducts a pre-flight brief prior to launching from Air Station Barbers Point in response to a report of 40 people abandoning ship south of the Hawaiian Islands, Feb. 10, 2016. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Sarah Bradley)

Coast Guard officials say the Fong Seong 888, a Tuvalu-flagged oil tanker, is en route transiting more than 90 miles to the vessel’s location and is expected to arrive on scene several hours later at approximately 8 p.m. HST.

The 40 crewmembers aboard 258-foot US-flagged fishing vessel abandoned ship at 10 a.m. HST into two life rafts, three work boats and one skiff, according to a Coast Guard report.

Authorities say an emergency position-indicating radio beacon was activated and is transmitting information.

Watchstanders at the Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Honolulu received notification from the vessel’s company American Eagle Fishing LLC at 8:38 a.m. HST of a fire aboard the vessel.

Initial reports indicate that there are no injuries.

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