A Coast Guard cutter responding to a disabled fishing boat in Alaska ended up needing a tow from a commercial tug after a recovery attempt gone awry.
The saga started Thursday morning, Jan. 5, when the fishing vessel Lady Gudny became dead in the water in heavy seas 230 miles east of Kodiak. The Lady Gudny, with a crew of four aboard, had run out of fuel filters and was unable to operate its engine. That afternoon, the Coast Guard attempted to air-drop fuel filters to the fishing boat, but the crew was not able to retrieve them in the rough conditions, a Coast Guard spokesperson said.
On Friday, the Coast Guard's 225' buoytender SPAR, homeported in Kodiak, responded to the fishing vessel, first attempting to deliver the fuel filters, and later moving to set up a tow when conditions again prevented a successful filter delivery. As the SPAR prepared to bring the Lady Gudny into tow, the towline separated, entangling the SPAR's propellers and causing the cutter to become disabled, the Coast Guard said in a statement.
A Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak MH-60T Jayhawk helicopter was then dispatched to aid the fishermen, all of whom were hoisted safely from the vessel and flown back to Kodiak on Friday.
A video posted on YouTube by a member of the Lady Gudny crew shows the SPAR adrift.
That video, and several others, have been attributed to the Lady Gudny's chief engineer, Michael Romero. Romero told Alaska CBS affiliate KTVA that the Lady Gudny and SPAR collided during the rescue attempt, which he also mentions in the videos posted on YouTube.
Enter the Anna-T, a 105'x36'x17' tractor tug operated by Amak Towing Company, Ketchikan, which took the SPAR into tow Saturday afternoon. A second Amak tug, the 96'x29'2"x13'5" Chahunta was recruited to tow the Lady Gudny, with both disabled vessels bound for Kodiak.
Coast Guard spokesperson Petty Officer 1st Class Bill Colclough confirmed in an email Monday that the SPAR had arrived safely in Kodiak, while the Lady Gudny and Chahunta were still underway, escorted by the 225' Coast Guard buoytender Hickory.
"Due to the extreme conditions in the Alaskan maritime environment, it is even more important everyone wear their life jackets and ensure proper vessel maintenance for safe ocean transits," Adam De Rocher, command duty officer, 17th Coast Guard District, said in a statement.
Weather on scene was reported as 20’-22’ seas with 49-mph winds.