MANASQUAN/CAPE MAY, NJ — The U.S. Coast Guard, with help from the Manasquan Fire Department, rescued three men and a dog from a sinking commercial fishing vessel in the Manasquan Inlet early Saturday morning.
The Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay reported that it received notification at 2 a.m. on December 8 that the 44-foot Miss Kathleen struck the northern Manasquan Inlet jetty and was taking on water. It was then intentionally grounded by its captain on Dog Beach, about 20 yards outside the channel.
Because shallow waters prevented a 29-foot Coast Guard response boat from getting to the sinking vessel, a Manasquan Fire Department boat crew was able to get to it and brought the men and dog to the Coast Guard boat for transport to shore. There were no reported injuries.
At 7 a.m., TowBoatUS personnel arrived on the scene and secured a boom around the Miss Kathleen as a precaution. There are reportedly 800 gallons of diesel on board the vessel, but no signs of sheen or pollution in the water, as the Coast Guard continues to monitor the salvage of the vessel.
"The Coast Guard is working with the N.J. Department of Environmental Protection to mitigate the environmental threat posed by the sunken vessel," said Capt. Scott Anderson, commander of Sector Delaware Bay.
Meanwhile, farther south along the Jersey coast Saturday morning, the Coast Guard rescued four people from a life raft after a commercial fishing vessel caught fire about 16 miles southeast of Cape May.
Crew members aboard the 75-foot Ocean Pearl activated emergency beacons and abandoned ship after an electrical fire ignited on board around 10:30 a.m., the Coast Guard said.
Once aboard their life raft, the Ocean Pearl’s crew used a handheld radio to contact watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay’s command center via VHF-FM channel 16.
When two Coast Guard response boats from Station Cape May arrived on the scene, they found the four men dressed in survival suits aboard the life raft. One crew took the men aboard and brought them ashore. No injuries were reported.
Another boat — the 87-foot Cutter Crocodile patrol boat, which is homeported in Cape May — responded as well, and is on scene to monitor the salvage of the vessel, which is adrift near the mouth of the Delaware Bay, the Coast Guard said.