Canadian fishermen rescued by cruise ship

Posted: Sunday, June 15, 2003

ANCHORAGE (AP) Three Canadian fishermen were rescued by a cruise ship headed south from Alaska after the boat they were on sank Friday morning just south of Alaska waters, Canadian officials said.

The fishing vessel Silver Bounty sent out a distress call at 4:55 a.m. Friday, said Mark Proulx, maritime coordinator for the Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Victoria, British Columbia.

The Silver Bounty crew had tried to use the boat's life raft, but strong winds blew it away, said Proulx, who reported the wind was blowing at about 40 knots.

The crew abandoned the sinking vessel and used driftwood to stay afloat, Proulx said. He didn't identify the crew members.

The Radiance of the Seas cruise ship arrived at 6:26 a.m. at the part of Hecate Strait where the crew was stranded, said Don Habeger, Royal Caribbean Cruises' director for industry relations in Alaska.

The strait begins about 90 miles south of the Alaska border.

The cruise ship dispatched its rescue boat to aid the fishermen, Habeger said.

The three crew members had mild hypothermia. The skipper also had ingested some diesel fuel, Proulx said.

The crew was to be dropped off on Guard Island Friday afternoon, and Canadian authorities were planning to pick them up from there, Habeger said.

Two of the crew are from Prince Rupert, British Columbia. The skipper is from Courtenay, British Columbia.

The Silver Bounty had been completely rebuilt three years ago, Proulx said. There were about 2,500 gallons of diesel on the ship.

The Canadian Transportation Safety Board will investigate the sinking, Proulx said.

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