The United States Coast Guard Cutter John McCormick, rear, prepares to take over towing a stranded vessel after assistance from the Canadian Coast Guard on Aug. 1, 2020. (USCG photo / PA2 Alexandria Preston)

The United States Coast Guard Cutter John McCormick, rear, prepares to take over towing a stranded vessel after assistance from the Canadian Coast Guard on Aug. 1, 2020. (USCG photo / PA2 Alexandria Preston)

US and Canadian coast guards work together to rescue stranded vessel

The inter-service rescue went off smoothly.

Not one but two Coast Guard services responded to a call of a disabled vessel near Dundas Island, Canada, near the U.S. border.

The vessel, with an operator and a dog aboard, suffered an engine failure and had low fuel when the operator called for assistance, according to a U.S. Coast Guard press release. The vessel was enroute from Port Hardy in British Columbia to Ketchikan when it experienced a mechanical breakdown. Both the U.S. and Canadian coast guards responded to the distress call.

[Hull Day celebrated at sea]

“Working with the Joint Rescue Coordination Center Victoria was a very smooth and easy process,” said Lt. Michael Civay of Coast Guard Sector Juneau in an email. “They were great at communicating with us and were proactive in their response.”

The CCGC Mcintryre Bay responded to and towed the vessel to the USCGC John McCormick, which towed the vessel to Ketchikan, before a CG Station Ketchikan 45-foot Response Boat-Medium took it the rest of the way.

“Working with the Joint Rescue Coordination Center Victoria was a very smooth and easy process. They were great at communicating with us and were proactive in their response,” Civay said. “Technical proficiency was shown by all involved during this complex towing evolution to transfer the tow between three different vessels.”

Working with other coast guards is a relatively rare occurrence, even this close to Canada, Civay said.

“In my experience, I have only seen cases where we have to work internationally about one or two times a year,” Civay said.

A service in her prime

The rescue comes as the U.S. Coast Guard celebrates its 230th birthday on Aug. 4, but with the coronavirus, it’ll be a relatively muted year for festivities, said Petty Officer 2nd Class Alexandria Preston, a USCG public affairs specialist.

“As far as the Coast Guard’s birthday is concerned, we don’t necessarily have one large annual event for the occasion. Typically what you would see is smaller morale day events at the local unit levels,” Preston said. “Those could include anything from sports events, a cook out or anything similar in nature. This year you won’t see much of that due to the Coast Guard’s diligence in protecting our members and the public from the spread of COVID-19.”

• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at 757-621-1197 or lockett@juneauempire.com.

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