Cod boat to be towed to Dutch after engine fire

This just in from the U.S. Coast Guard:

Oct. 28, 2011

Coast Guard escorting fire-damaged fishing vessel

KODIAK — The Coast Guard cutter Sherman is escorting the fishing vessel Alaskan Leader toward Dutch Harbor after the vessel sustained fire damage.

The Coast Guard in Kodiak received notification Thursday night of a fire in the engine room aboard the 150-foot Alaskan Leader.

The vessel was 103 miles northwest of Unimak Pass in the Bering Sea.

The Coast Guard issued an urgent marine information broadcast over HF and VHF radio channels requesting the support of any vessels in the area.

The fishing vessels Frontier Explorer, Frontier Spirit and Eastern Wind responded to the broadcast and arrived on scene to render assistance. The Coast Guard also diverted the cutter Sherman from its patrol to assist.

The Alaskan Leader crew was able to extinguish the fire themselves by 9:30 p.m. No injuries have been reported among the 23 crew.

The engine room reportedly suffered extensive damage from the starboard engine fire.

The master of the vessel reported they were able to resume their voyage using their port main diesel engine and auxiliary generator, manual steering and manual throttle control.

The Sherman arrived on scene at 3:30 a.m., allowing the three good Samaritan fishing vessels to return to their previous activities.

The vessel is currently under way at 6 mph about 63 miles from Dutch Harbor.

A commercial tug, contracted by the owner, is on scene with the vessel. It will tow the Alaskan Leader to Dutch Harbor. Once in tow the Sherman crew will return to its patrol.

The tug and fishing vessel are expected to reach Dutch Harbor this afternoon.

"The Coast Guard takes fishing vessel safety very seriously and the vessel will be met by marine casualty investigators and inspectors from Marine Safety Detachment Unalaska to assess the damage," said Lt. Cmdr. Bradley Clare, the Coast Guard Sector Anchorage chief of inspections.

The Alaskan Leader is a Kodiak-based catcher-processor and is carrying 5,000 to 6,000 gallons of diesel fuel and 9,000 pounds of frozen cod.

The Sherman is a 378-foot high endurance cutter from San Diego.