U.S. Coast Guard crews safely escorted two small fishing boats, one of which was taking water, to the dock after they apparently collided in thick fog about 12 miles offshore from the coast early Wednesday morning.
The Coast Guard will investigate the cause of the incident, which was called to Yaquina Bay station shortly after 5 a.m. The station immediately launched its two 47-foot motor lifeboats and quickly located the ships. North Bend Sector also dispatched a helicopter to the scene, and after the helicopter arrived, one of the 47-footers was sent back to watch the bar and stand by if needed.
Both fishing boats – the F / V Chief Joseph and the F / V Linda – were still operational, but the Linda sustained damage to her hull and took on water. The Coast Guard crew ran a pump in case it was needed to keep the fishing vessel afloat.
The Coasties escorted the two ships and their uninjured crews of two each, to the dock around 7:30 a.m., then conducted a safe embarkation – a routine inspection required after any Coast Guard assistance, such as an escort or a tow.
While the cause of the reported collision is officially undetermined, a post from the Pacific Northwest Coast Guard District 13 Facebook page originally referred to the incident as an “alliion” – a term commonly obsolete when a moving object hits a fixed object. The message was then changed to indicate that two ships “collided”.
Yaquina Bay Station Commander Ryan O’Meara said he was grateful to everyone involved for arriving at the pier safely given the potentially dire circumstances. He said overall vessel traffic for active fisheries was high in foggy conditions thanks to calm seas.
“Having a boat take the water 12 miles from shore is an evolution of all hands on deck,” said O’Meara. “We take these calls very seriously and give them a little bit of everything we have. It worked for the best. Taking the water 12 miles from shore is no joke. They were able to keep pace, but it could have turned at any point into a situation with people in the water. “