Two commercial fishermen were airlifted to safety by a Coast Guard helicopter crew on July 8, 2017. The two crewmen were aboard the 40-foot commercial fishing vessel New Faith and were fishing approximately 52 miles west of Coos Bay. The crew issued a May Day call stating their vessel was taking on water and sinking. The vessel had been fishing for Albacore tuna and reportedly had one ton of tuna on board and 300 gallons of diesel. The captain of the vessel and the crewmen were airlifted by separate helicopters after attempts to dewater the vessel with the aid of a Coast Guard rescue swimmer failed. The crew of the New Faith was transported to North Bend for medical evaluation and were released without reported injuries.
The cause of the sinking of the New Faith is unknown at this time. Commercial fishing vessels continue to sink at an alarming rate off the Washington and Oregon coast. It is imperative that vessels are equipped with proper safety equipment, including survival suits. The crew of commercial vessels should regularly drill in emergency procedures. All vessels must be kept in a seaworthy condition, and a regular maintenance and repair schedule be followed. The safety of the crew of the vessel is paramount, and any needed repairs threatening the safety of the crew should not be ignored. In this case the actions of our Coast Guard search and rescue teams saved another fishing vessel crew’s life.