The crew of the fishing vessel Western Venture abandoned ship Sunday morning after reporting a fire in an email to the ship’s owner. The Coast Guard scrambled aircraft from Kodiak and Sitka but were unable to establish radio contact with the Western Venture.
At 9:05 a.m., the Coast Guard District 17 command center in Juneau reported receiving the Western Venture’s automated personal locator beacon. Emergency locator beacons are triggered automatically when immersed in seawater. They also can be triggered manually.
The 59-foot Western Venture, homeported in Kodiak, is a Westward Seafoods longliner also licensed as a tender-packer, according to the Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission database.
According to the Coast Guard, the good Samaritan vessel Aleutian Beauty picked up the Western Venture’s crew from their life boat on Sunday afternoon.
According to the Marine Exchange of Alaska’s vessel tracking service, the Aleutian Beauty was sailing in the Bering Sea just north of the Aleutians when it picked up the Coast Guard’s request for help. It changed course to the southwest and picked up speed. It made contact with the Western Venture’s lifeboat between Tanaga Island and Gareloi Island, two uninhabited Aleutian rocks.
“The assistance of good Samaritans like the crew of the Aleutian Beauty is vital to saving lives in Alaska where we are regularly faced with harsh conditions and vast distances,” said Lt. Colin Boyle, a search and rescue controller with the 17th District command center, in a statement.
The Coast Guard reports all five crewmen are in good condition after surviving several hours in 4-foot seas and 22 mph winds.
A Coast Guard C-130 from Air Station Kodiak observed the Western Venture still afloat and afire on Sunday afternoon.
Coast Guard spokeswoman Sara Mooers, in Kodiak, said a forward-deployed helicopter from Cold Bay, one from Kodiak and additional support had left to assist in the rescue but were not needed.
The five Western Venture crewmen are en route to Adak aboard the Aleutian Beauty. They are expected to return to Kodiak, but no ETA was available Sunday.
Contact Mirror editor James Brooks at firstname.lastname@example.org.