Coast Guard rescues 7 after fishing vessel catches fire off Oahu

  • A Coast Guard Station Honolulu 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew responds to a vessel fire aboard the commercial fishing vessel Miss Emma about eight miles off Ko'olina, Oahu, Sept. 17, 2019. The RB-M crew successfully rescued six crew and an NOAA observer. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Seaman Zachary Kroll/Released)
  • Coast Guard crews respond to a vessel fire aboard the commercial fishing vessel Miss Emma about eight miles off Ko'olina, Oahu, Sept. 17, 2019. A Coast Guard Station Honolulu 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew successfully rescued six crew and an NOAA observer. Additional crews remain on the scene (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. James Provost/Released)
  • A Coast Guard Station Honolulu 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew returns to Honolulu with six crew and an NOAA observer rescued from the commercial fishing vessel Miss Emma about eight miles off Ko'olina, Oahu, Sept. 17, 2019. They were met in Honolulu at Pier 38 by emergency medical personnel and Customs and Border Protection personnel (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Seaman Zachary Kroll/Released)

HONOLULU — The U.S. Coast Guard rescued six crew and an NOAA observer after their fishing vessel caught fire Tuesday afternoon in waters off off Oahu.

Coast Guard Sector Honolulu Watchstanders received a mayday call on VHF-FM channel 16 at 4:29 p.m. reporting the crew of the Miss Emma was battling a vessel fire, the agency said in a press release. The Miss Emma is a 46-foot commercial fishing vessel homeported out of Honolulu.

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Watchstanders issued an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast Notice to Mariners and directed the launch of the 45-foot Response-Boat Medium and the Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Gerczak (WPC 1126). Joint Rescue Coordination Center Honolulu also coordinated aviation support from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point in the form of an HC-130 Hercules airplane and an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crews.

The RB-M crew was first on scene and rescued the Miss Emma mariners at 5:05 p.m. from a liferaft, according to the Coast Guard. They arrived in Honolulu at Pier 38 where they were met by emergency medical personnel for further evaluation, Coast Guard first responders, and Customs and Border Protection personnel. There were no reported injuries.

“We are so pleased to have this crew safe in less than an hour after the initial call,” Lt. j.g. Seth Gross, command duty officer, Coast Guard Sector Honolulu command center, said in the press release. “The quick action of this crew, coupled with our training, made all the difference.”

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The vessel remains on fire and adrift moving southwest, but may shift, the Coast Guard said. The team on the Joseph Gerczak recovered the Miss Emma’s deployed liferaft following the crew’s rescue by the RB-M. Coast Guard assets remain on scene, and crews are determining next steps. The public is asked to stay at a distance from the vessel for safety.

The Coast Guard said it has begun a routine investigation into the cause of the fire.

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