Boat crews from Coast Guard Station Depoe Bay towed the three person crew of a commercial fishing vessel in distress and have been safeguarding them near Yaquina Bay since 2 a.m. Thursday, unable to cross the Yaquina Bay bar as 20-foot seas continue to thrash the Oregon coast.
Due to a Captain of the Port closure restricting movement across the Yaquina Bay bar, two 47-foot Motor Life Boat crews are on standby with the fishing vessel Ms. Nicani until local weather clears, which is expected to be late Thursday evening or Friday morning.
“Other than a little fatigue, everybody is doing well,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Matthew Sprague, a surfman at Station Depoe Bay and coxswain of the first Motor Lifeboat on scene. “We pushed our crews and our boats to the limits in the storm, but we are committed to getting the Ms. Nicani to safe harbor.”
The tow began around 2 a.m. about two miles off shore when the crew of Ms. Nicani reported a rogue wave broke the vessel’s windshield and destroyed their electronic systems. Waves in the area were reported to be between 25 and 30 feet the time of the call.
The first 47-foot Motor Life Boat crew launched immediately after the fishermen called the Coast Guard for help on VHF radio and towed the vessel approximately 15 miles to the Yaquina Bay entrance. The second crew relieved the watch around 3 p.m., and additional crews will continue to keep the vessel in tow as needed until the Captain of the Port closure is lifted.
Weather at the time of the exchange was reported to be 16-to-20 foot seas with wind speeds of 17 to 23 mph.