There are no reports of pollution or hazards to the public from the 88-foot Sea Angels that ran aground Monday morning near a restricted area in Browns Inlet in Onslow County and steps are in place to safely remove the fishing vessel, the U.S. Coast Guard announced Thursday.
In addition to the possible hazard from the estimated 15,000 gallons of diesel fuel on the fishing vessel Sea Angels, the potential for unexploded military ordnance exist in the area because of active live fire training there dating as far back as World War II.
To oversee the safe removal, a unified command of the Coast Guard, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, state and Onslow County emergency management and the vessel owner was established Wednesday. Salvage operations to remove the vessel were being coordinated by the owner and overseen by the Coast Guard.
“Our priority is ensuring the safety of both response personnel and the public while mitigating potential environmental impacts,” said Capt. Bion Stewart, commander of Coast Guard Sector North Carolina, in a statement. “We are thankful for the expertise of our interagency partners, which is instrumental to the response efforts.”
Coast Guard Sector North Carolina received a radio distress call around 8:12 a.m. from a crew member, one of four on board, who reported the vessel had run aground due to mechanical issues and requested assistance from the Coast Guard, according to a Coast Guard news release.
A crew on a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium from Station Emerald Isle and an aircrew aboard an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Elizabeth City assisted. Once on scene, the aircrew hoisted the four crew members from the ship and transported them to Coast Guard Station Emerald Isle. There were no reported injuries or visible signs of pollution, according to the Coast Guard.
The Coast Guard hoists four fishermen from an 88-foot fishing vessel that ran aground in Browns Inlet Monday. Video: DVIDS