SAN JUAN — The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Heriberto Hernandez rescued six men from a fishing vessel that was taking on water Sunday, about 18 nautical miles west of Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico.
The men, who were all wearing lifejackets, had gone out on a recreational fishing voyage when the 27-foot fishing vessel Makaira Seeker started taking on water and the vessel bilge pumps stopped working.
Coast Guard watchstanders at Sector San Juan received a VHF-Channel 16 communication at 1:28 p.m. Sunday from the vessel Makaira Seeker reporting the distress and that the fishermen were attempting to dewater the vessel by hand. The survivors also reported the vessel’s GPS was down and estimated their position to be approximately five nautical miles from buoy six. Watchstanders immediately diverted the cutter Heriberto Hernandez to find the distressed vessel and transmitted an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast to alert nearby vessel traffic to be on the lookout.
Within thirty minutes, cutter Heriberto Hernandez arrived on-scene and used the cutter small boat to deploy two crewmembers aboard the Makaira Seeker along with two P6 dewatering pumps. The small boat crew also embarked four of the fishermen, while two others remained aboard the vessel to continue dewatering efforts.
“Fortunately, we were able to render assistance within 30 minutes of the vessel taking on water, if it had been longer the fishing vessel would have likely sank,” said Lt. Robert Renfrow, cutter Heriberto Hernandez commanding officer. “We immediately launched our cutter boat and two of our members hopped on and began dewatering the vessel with a P6 pump. I am extremely proud of the crew’s quick actions and professionalism, cases like this are very fulfilling and make serving in the Coast Guard rewarding.”
Once the vessel was stable, the cutter small boat crew escorted the Makaira Seeker to the Puerto Real marina in Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico.
Cutter Heriberto Hernandez is a 154-foot fast response cutter homeported in San Juan, Puerto Rico.