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Coast Guard Yaquina Bay got a call at around 8:30 Monday evening that a crab boat, with three crewmen returning from sea with a full load of crab, had lost propulsion right after they came through the tips of the jetties.
Large ocean swells turned the 55-foot Fishing Vessel Eclipse completely around and pushed it into the north side of the south jetty, damaging the vessel on its port side below the water line. Holes were ripped in the ship’s bottom and water came pouring in to the hold.
The Coast Guard said two of the three crewmen quickly got into their survival suits and leaped into the water. One crewman was in the water for about two minutes before he was able to swim to the rocks and climb to safety. The other crewman was in the water a bit longer but managed to climb up onto the jetty as well. The third crewman stayed with the vessel.
A Coast Guard motor lifeboat came along side the stricken vessel and immediately assessed that although the Eclipse was taking on water, they believed they could save it. They tied two lines and pulled it quickly into the bay. Within minutes coast guardsmen had it tied up to an outer pier of Port Dock 7.
Coast Guard crews rush-delivered several pumps down below decks and started pumping the water out. In addition to saving the Eclipse, the crew is understandably stressed about the full load of crab they still have below decks. They were expected to unload their catch soon after getting into port.
Meanwhile the two hypothermic crewmen were taken off the jetty; one transported by ambulance to PCH in Newport. The other was air-lifted from the jetty in a Coast Guard helo and flown to the Newport Airport where it was met by a second ambulance. This particular crewman was judged to have suffered more severe hyprothermia than the first.
The Coast Guard says they will try to determined what caused the vessel’s propulsion system to fail.
The Coast Guard once again demonstrated rock solid competence on the water and in the air, quickly and professionally delivering a stricken fishing vessel and its crew safely back to port – then staying right with them at the dock to ensure that their vessel survives to fish another day.
The Eclipse is a veteran fishing vessel built in 1966. It’s just under 55 feet in length, displaces 49 tons and is owned by Celestial Seafoods of Siletz.