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An American fishing trawler sank Friday after being involved in a collision with a containership off the coast of Virginia, approximately 63 miles southeast of Chincoteague. All thirteen people aboard were rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard and good samaritan vessels.
Watchstanders with Coast Guard Sector Virginia received a mayday call at approximately 2 a.m. Friday from the 115-foot commercial fishing vessel, Tremont, stating they were reportedly involved in a collision with the 1000-foot Panamanian-flagged container vessel, MSC Rita, and they were sinking with 13 people aboard and abandoning ship.
The watchstanders issued an urgent marine information broadcast and directed the launch a MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew and a HC-130 Hercules airplane crew from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, as well as a Coast Guard Station Chincoteague 47-foot Motor Life Boat (MLB) boatcrew. The Coast Guard Cutter Rollin Fritch was also diverted to assist.
Two good samaritan vessels, the R/V Atlantis and M/V Drystan arrived on scene to assist. The Atlantis launched their smallboat to transfer 12 of the Tremont crewmembers who had abandoned ship to the Drystan. The helicopter crew then hoisted the Tremont captain from the sinking vessel.
“Safety of life at sea is the Coast Guard’s top priority,” said Capt. Jennifer Stockwell, commander of Sector Virginia. “These are the life-saving missions for which we train each and every day. While this morning’s events were unfortunate, 13 people were rescued from an extremely perilous situation. The combined efforts of good Samaritans and Coast Guard response assets demonstrates a selfless commitment to others.”
The Tremont crewmembers were transferred to the Coast Guard MLB and taken to the station with no reported injuries. The fishing vessel captain was taken to Coast Guard Sector Virginia with no reported injuries.
The cause of the collision is under investigation.
Equasis shows the U.S.-flagged Tremont is owned by Tremont Fisheries of Massachusetts. The vessel was built in 1970.
MSC Rita is operated by Mediterranean Shipping Company. AIS data provided by MarineTraffic shows the ship was traveling from New York to Charleston, where it was moored as of Monday.
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