An undisclosed Coast Guard cutter on patrol in the Eastern Pacific Ocean on Wednesday rescued 25 fishing boat crewmen — and a dozen Coasties — after the Ecuadorian vessel capsized, officials announced Saturday.
Because it remains on a law enforcement mission, Coast Guard officials in California told Navy Times that they can’t identify the cutter or its present location.
But they confirmed that the fishing boat sank about 336 nautical miles southeast of Clipperton Island.
Officials said that Coast Guard personnel were performing a “routine boarding” of the 160-foot vessel Marujita when it began listing dangerously, forcing both the boarding team and the boat’s crewmen to abandon ship.
A boat team from the cutter rushed to rescue the Coast Guard personnel and 16 of the fishing crew. The rest scrambled up nets draped over the side of the cutter except one Marujita crewman who clung to the hull of the sinking vessel.
The cutter’s unnamed rescue swimmer saved him, officials said. There were no reported injuries.
“Fast action by the cutter’s crew resulted in a remarkable mass rescue in a dangerous and challenging situation,” said Capt. Arthur Snyder, the chief of operations for the Alameda, California-based 11th Coast Guard District, in a prepared statement emailed to Navy Times.
“Their decisive response reflects their training and dedication, and shows the types of dangers faced by Coast Guard crews deployed around the world protecting our nation.”
The incident remains under investigation.