The three-man crew of a fishing vessel out of West Pubnico, Yarmouth County, are back on land safe and sound after their boat became disabled on the fishing grounds about 73 nautical miles southwest of Clark’s Harbour on Nov. 7.
The fish dragger Carmelle No. 3 was towed back to its home port at the Dennis Point wharf on Nov. 8 by the Canadian Coast Guard cutter Clark’s Harbour. It had issued a distress call and then lost communications with the Halifax Coast Guard radio on the marine distress channel the evening before.
Fred Roy, acting supervisor for Maritime Search and Rescue with the Joint Rescue Coordination Center (JRCC) in Halifax, said the call came in at 8:10 p.m.
“Initially there was a little bit of unknowns with the situation on board the vessel,” said Roy, adding the JRCC had the position of the vessel but not its name because communications were pretty poor.
The cutter Clark’s Harbour was tasked to the scene, as well as a Hercules aircraft that was training over southern New Brunswick and a Cormorant helicopter out of Greenwood. A mayday relay broadcast went out by radio.
“The first asset to get on scene was the Hercules airplane,” said Roy. “Since we had poor communications with the vessel they decided to airdrop a radio to them. Once they established contact the vessel confirmed that the three people on board were safe and the vessel was in no danger of sinking or anything like that.”
The vessel had become disabled with power loss and was losing its battery power, said Roy.
“Presumably that’s why communications was so poor. So at that point the Clark’s Harbour was kept on task and continued to proceed.”
Both the Hercules and Cormorant were stood down. The Clark’s Harbour arrived on scene at 2 a.m.
“Initially the call came in as a distress but the situation was a loss of power and loss of propulsion so it turned out to be a routine tow job,” said Roy.
He said there’s always cause for concern when a vessel loses power, especially when it is a fair distance from shore, as was this case, said Roy. But as it turned out, he said, the story had a good ending.