Coast Guard suspends search for fishing boat

Posted Sept. 16, 2013, at 7:58 a.m.
Last modified Sept. 16, 2013, at 6:39 p.m.

SOUTHWEST HARBOR, Maine — The U.S. Coast Guard suspended its search Monday evening for a 55-foot fishing vessel that was reported in distress in an area southeast of Southwest Harbor the night before.

The Coast Guard announced it was suspending the active search at 5:28 pm. Monday. The search by sea and air covered an area of nearly 2,000 square miles and included shoreline searches of surrounding islands, according to the Coast Guard.

“We basically spent all night and day searching,” explained Petty Officer Kurt Hein with the Coast Guard Sector Northern New England command center in South Portland. “We pretty much saturated the areas as best we could.”

Further searching is unlikely to result in finding the missing vessel, he said.

However, the search could resume if the Coast Guard received new information, he added.

“At this point there have been no further developments, and we really didn’t have a whole lot to go on in the first place,” said Hein.

The Coast Guard was alerted by VHF radio at about 6:41 p.m. Sunday that a fishing vessel was taking on water with two people aboard. It deployed resources to search an area about nine miles northeast of Mount Desert Rock.

“It was basically one transmission we got,” said Petty Officer Bretton Radwanski at the Coast Guard Station Southwest Harbor. “We got nothing more since.”

The Coast Guard was not able to identify the vessel or the two people reported on board.

Conditions Sunday night were about 5-foot seas, according to Radwanski. Monday morning seas were about 3 feet with 5-10 knot winds and unobstructed visibility, he said.

The Coast Guard had three vessels and a plane deployed in the search Monday morning, according to Petty Officer Myeonghi Clegg, a spokeswoman in Boston. A 47-foot motor lifeboat and 25-foot response boat were deployed from Coast Guard Station Southwest Harbor; a C-144 Ocean Sentry airplane was sent from Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod; and the Cutter Jefferson Island was dispatched from South Portland. All four were involved in conducting search patterns, Clegg said.

The search was scaled back during the day Monday, however, and by late afternoon, only the Coast Guard Cutter Jefferson Island was continuing to look for the missing fishing boat. Then its search was suspended at about 5:30 p.m.

Anyone with information about the missing fishing boat is urged to call the Coast Guard command center at 767-0303.

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