HMCS Ottawa rescues crew on burning vessel

The crew of HMCS Ottawa watch from the deck as two men aboard a burning fishing boat Sherry C are rescued by personnel in a rigged-hulled inflatible boat.

The crew of HMCS Ottawa watch from the deck as two men aboard a burning fishing boat Sherry C are rescued by personnel in a rigged-hulled inflatible boat.

Peter Mallett, Lookout Writer ~

Two men stranded on a burning fishing vessel are now on dry land thanks to the crew of HMCS Ottawa.

The 12-metre fishing ­vessel Sherry C was towing the disabled fishing ­vessel Tryon to Tofino on Aug. 25 when a fire broke out in the engine room. It was 9:25 p.m. and the vessel was 13 nautical miles west of Ucluelet Sound when they sent out a distress call. Ottawa responded to the May Day call and proceeded at best speed to both disabled vessels.

In less than half an hour Ottawa was on scene. The fire and smoke had engulfed the interior of Sherry C, and the panicked crew were about to abandon the vessel. Smoke could be seen billowing from the vessel, and though Ottawa’s infrared cameras, a significant heat source was radiating from its engine room.

Ottawa immediately deployed its rigid inflated boat and extracted the fishermen from their ­vessel. They were assessed as uninjured, transferred to a Canadian Coast Guard rescue boat, and later transported to Tofino.

“We approached the fishing boat carefully from the stern,” said LS Christopher Henrion, Ottawa’s boat coxswain. “Both fishermen were extremely happy to see us. Both had been hanging on for as long as they could off the back of their boat before needing to abandon it. We transferred them to our RHIB, confirmed they had no injuries, and provided them with blankets to keep warm until the Coast Guard arrived.”

With both individuals safe, Ottawa turned its attention to the disabled fishing vessel Tryon. An assessment team was quickly dispatched, and based on their evaluation, Tryon’s transmission and alternator were beyond repair and the vessel would require a tow back to port.

“LS Otte and I assessed the Tryon, whose transmission had suffered salt water contamination due to salt water flooding,” reported MS Jonas Beck. “Although the crew had managed to stop the ingress of sea water, their transmission and starter/alternator was severely damaged and seized. Tryon would need to be towed.”

Tryon was later ­safely towed back to port by Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) vessel Cape McKay.

“I’m extremely proud of the focus, determination, professionalism and team work of the ship’s company in preparing and responding to tonight’s distress call,” said Cdr Sylvain Belair, Ottawa’s Commanding Officer.“ The team’s effort and performance in successfully accomplishing our mission made a positive and real difference in these individuals’ lives.”

Ottawa later turned over the scene to CCG vessels Cape McKay and Cape Ann, who took responsibility for the disabled vessels and crew.

Filed Under: Top Stories

About the Author: The Lookout Newspaper can trace its history back to April 1943 when CFB Esquimalt’s first newspaper was published. Since then, Lookout has grown into the award winning source for Pacific Navy News. Leading the way towards interactive social media reach, we are a community resource newspaper growing a world wide audience.

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