An MH-60 Jayhawk crew from Coast Guard Air Station Sitka carries out training in Juneau, Alaska, June 26, 2018. (Petty Officer 1st Class Jon-Paul Rios | U.S. Coast Guard)

An MH-60 Jayhawk crew from Coast Guard Air Station Sitka carries out training in Juneau, Alaska, June 26, 2018. (Petty Officer 1st Class Jon-Paul Rios | U.S. Coast Guard)

Coast Guard flies pump to vessel taking on water

The pump allowed the fishing vessel to make it to port

A Coast Guard aircrew based out of Sitka flew a dewatering pump to a vessel in distress off the coast near Sitka on Saturday.

“A (MH-60) Jayhawk helicopter delivered a dewatering pump to the fishing vessel Tamarack,” said Coast Guard public affairs specialist Chief Petty Officer Matthew Schofield in a phone interview Monday. “Once they got the water situation under control, they were able to get back with an escort to Sitka where they were safely moored.”

The nature of the damage to the vessel is uncertain, Schofield said, save that the vessel was taking on sufficient water that the crew of three was preparing for the worst.

“When they called, they were donning their survival suits,” Schofield said. “It makes our job easier, knowing that people are prepared.”

The crew of the helicopter was able to lower the pump to the Tamarack despite choppy seas and high winds.

“Where something like this does seem like a pretty routine case, it’s a pretty complex evolution to get a helicopter above a small boat and lower the pump down to its deck,” Schofield said. “We operate in a different environment as it is. Whether it’s the winds or the Alaskan waters being what they are, it’s a whole other level of complexity.”

Civilian and Coast Guard vessels on the water also responded to the Tamarack’s distress, including a Ketchikan-based cutter.

“We really want to thank the other folks that responded. When we get help from good Samaritan vessels, it really does help out. It gives us another set of eyes and another set of hands,” Schofield said. “Coast Guard Cutter Bailey T. Barco diverted as well. It’s cool to see that coordination between multiple assets.”

• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at 757.621.1197 or mlockett@juneauempire.com.

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