Fishing tender sinks in Orca Inlet

A 63-foot wooden hulled fishing tender sank in Orca Inlet near Cordova early on the morning of Wednesday, Aug. 15, but all three crew aboard the Marine Star were rescued, and reported to be in good condition, Coast Guard officials said.

Coast Guard officials heard a mayday call over Channel 16 at 4:28 a.m., but then lost contact, said PA 2 Melissa McKenzie, in Anchorage.  When watchstanders were unable to reestablish contact they put out a call for other vessels in the area to look for a vessel in trouble.

The vessel was reportedly taking on water, but neither the cause or weather conditions at the time were known.

The Good Samaritan F/V Cape Ann responded and picked up all three crew from a life raft, she said.  Two of the crew were wearing their survival suits, but the third crew member was unable to get his on and there was some concern about hypothermia, she said.

Tide conditions affected the Cape Ann’s ability to bring the trio into Cordova, so they transferred the three crew to the F/V Brittany, which delivered them into town, McKenzie said.  All three were reported to be in good health despite the incident, she said.

The tender owner, who was not immediately identified, told the Coast Guard there was 800 gallons of gasoline and 1,500 gallons of diesel on board at the time of the sinking.  The Coast Guard had no information about the presence of fish on board.

Mixed reports from vessels in the area ranged from no oil sheen at the site of the sinking to a slight sheen.  The owner has contracted with Alaska Marine Response, which was headed to the scene to put out boom and determine the next court of action, McKenzie said.