Three fishermen rescued from burning boat off Costa Rica

MARITIME SECURITY WEEK
The fire on the Costa Rican fishing boat Baula X being extinguished by the US Coast Guard medium endurance cutter Northland on August 18, 2021 (Photo: US Coast Guard/Petty Officer 2nd Class Brandon Giles)

The US Coast Guard rescued three people after their boat caught fire approximately 150 miles (241 kilometres) south of Golfito, Costa Rica, on Wednesday, August 18.

Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC) Costa Rica contacted Eleventh Coast Guard District command center watchstanders at 21:30 (local time) on Tuesday, August 17, relaying a report of a fire aboard the fishing boat Baula X.

The three mariners on board Baula X abandoned their boat and were clinging to a buoy in the water while maintaining communication with the vessel administrator via satellite phone.

Watchstanders utilised the automated mutual-assistance vessel rescue (AMVER) system and contacted the crew of the Marshall Islands-flagged bulk carrier Avra.GR approximately 58 miles (93 kilometres) away. The bulk carrier’s crew agreed to assist and proceeded toward the distressed fishermen.

The crew of the US Coast Guard medium endurance cutter Northland despatched their MH-65 Dolphin helicopter at 04:00 on Wednesday to search for the crew of Baula X. The distressed mariners were found soon afterwards at their last reported position.

Upon arriving on-scene, Northland helped extinguish the blaze on Baula X and launched an over-the-horizon small boat, whose crew retrieved all three castaways at 05:40. The fishermen were later transferred in good condition to Avra.GR.

RCC Costa Rica later coordinated with the bulk carrier’s crew to transfer the three mariners back to Costa Rica.

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