US-Canada Coast Guard Jointly Rescue 31 Seafarers From A Blazing Vessel

An offshore ship sank in Nova Scotia putting in danger the lives of 31 seafarers onboard the scallop dragger. And now the US and Canada have jointly launched a rescue operation to save the seafarers in the heavy seas of the Atlantic.

The ship doesn’t have the ability to steer as it has lost power.

Late on Tuesday night, helicopters began to rescue the seafarers from the 39-meter longship. The airlift went on till the morning. This happened as the ship caught fire at sea and lost power while it was transiting through Yarmouth, NS.

US-Canada Coast Guard Jointly Rescues 31 Seafarers From A Blazing Atlantic Ship
Image Credits: HfxJRCC_CCCOS – @hfxjrcc

Ship Catches Fire Midsea

According to the statement given by Edward Forys, the Commander of the US Coast Guard winged aircraft flew above the ship to outline the rescue operation launched jointly by the 2 nations.

“It (the Atlantic Destiny) was taking on water when we arrived and they didn’t have any power or ability to steer,” Forys said on Wednesday. “So they were bobbing in the water and it was imperative we started to get people off that ship.”

As per Forys estimate, the wind was blowing at a speed of 90 kms per hour which swelled up the sea by 5-7 meters, making the ship go up and down as the rescue operation continued.

The technicians on the vessel were rescued by the Canadian forces CH149 Cormorant helicopter. The 2 cormorants were engaged in the first hoists. Then 2 American Jayhawk helicopters joined in followed by 27 more people. It was the most hoists done in one incident, said Forys.

“Each time the basket came down to lift up crew, the two Canadian search and rescue technicians on board would help them strap in, as the teams from the two countries communicated by radio and international hand signals”, Forys said.

Information Relayed To Shore

And as it happened information was relayed by the fixed wing aircrafts to the command centers on shore. In this way, the conditions of the survivors were relayed to take a decision on the further course of action. Based on their condition they were taken to Yarmouth for medical help.

Lt.-Cmdr. Brian Owens said, “the Atlantic Destiny sank at 10:36 a.m. Wednesday morning after succumbing to damage it sustained in the fire”.

“27 crew members were taken to Yarmouth by the three helicopter crews during the night, where they received medical attention, food, and accommodations”, Owens added.

The rest of the crew and technicians were taken to the Canadian coast guard ship Cape Roger, around 8 am in morning. They were taken to shore in the afternoon.

The Halifax rescue coordination center received a distress call on Tuesday night at 8 pm. They got to know that a ship was on fire and was taking in water in the high seas while it lost power

Ship Owner Hails the Rescue Effort

The shipowner, Ocean Choice hailed the other ships like the Cape LaHave, Maude Adams, and the Atlantic Protector which helped in the rescue operation.

“They’re professional seamen and we have an experienced captain and crew members that handled this incredibly well,” said Ocean Choice CEO Martin Sullivan

“The collective efforts of our crew and all those who came to assist the crew and the vessel resulted in the best possible outcome for this situation,” said Blaine Sullivan, the president of Ocean Choice. “We are sincerely thankful to everyone that helped ensure that every single crew member is safe and accounted for”, he further added.

Investigation To Determine Cause of Fire

Ocean Choice reiterated its commitment to the safety and security of seafarers saying that there are no injuries and a thorough investigation to determine the cause of the fire will be launched soon. The Atlantic Destiny is one of the 6 offshore vessels that they operate. The ship’s home port is in Riverport, NS.

A similar mishap happened on the Atlantic Destiny back in 2017 when the ship encountered a blackout due to the breakdown of its main engine The incident also happened in Nova Scotia. The ship had a major overhaul after that and was signed off by classification society. The classification society which declassified, issues certificates as an authority of Transport Canada

Forys reaffirmed that the rescue team was satisfied with the outcome although they were tired and exhausted.

“This is a major case. This is one of the search and rescue cases you’ll remember”, said the Commander.


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