January 4,  2010

UPDATE:  Fishing trawler aground on Oregon Inlet bar is freed


A 77-foot fishing trawler that was stuck on the Oregon Inlet bar just east of the Bonner Bridge was freed last evening about 8:30 p.m.

According to Ensign Caleb Peacock, public information officer for U.S. Coast Guard Sector North Carolina, the trawler Sheila Rene was towed by the 110-foot Coast Guard cutter Staten Island to open waters, where it was secured and watched overnight by two 47-foot lifeboats from Station Oregon Inlet.

Peacock said that on Monday afternoon, a tug boat from a salvage company in Virginia towed the Sheila Rene back to its homeport in Wanchese.

He added that the fishing vessel Handful, which capsized and sank late yesterday afternoon while assisting with the effort to free the trawler, “was completely submerged” with no salvage plans yet.

Handful is also out of Wanchese.  Its captain is Tommy Danchese and the mate is Stevie Ruhle.  Neither was injured in the incident.

January 3,  2010

Crew is rescued from trawler still aground at Oregon Inlet


U. S. Coast Guard crews hoisted three people and their dog to safety Saturday morning, Jan. 2, from a grounded fishing trawler on the Oregon Inlet bar.

However, on Sunday evening, Jan. 3, the trawler was still high and dry on the shoals.

According to a media release, the crew of the 77-foot Sheila Rene out of Wanchese contacted the Coast Guard late on Friday night, Jan. 1, requesting help after their trawler grounded on the bar.  The Coast Guard dispatched a 47-foot rescue boat from Station Oregon Inlet at about 11:30 p.m. to dislodge the Sheila Rene, but they were unable to free the trawler.

Conditions worsened for the crew overnight, and the Coast Guard deemed it unsafe for the crew to stay on the grounded trawler. An Air Station Elizabeth City MH-60T Jayhawk helicopter crew arrived about 7 a.m. on Saturday, hoisted them off, and delivered them to the station.

According to ENS Caleb Peacock, public affairs officer for Coast Guard Sector North Carolina, the trawler, loaded with 10,000 pounds of seafood, floated off the bar at Saturday morning’s high tide, but then was grounded again.

Peacock said that Sunday morning’s high tide moved the trawler about 30 feet to the east, but then it was aground again. Also, on Sunday morning, the Coast Guard returned the crew to the boat, inspected it, and found it seaworthy.

Sunday afternoon two Coast Guard boats were standing by while boats and crews from Sea Tow Services, a private company, tried to get the Sheila Rene off the shoals – or, at least, secured.

Late Saturday afternoon, a fishing vessel assisting Sea Tow capsized, Peacock said. The vessel is the Handful, and one person who went into the water was rescued by the Coast Guard and was not injured.

By dark, the trawler was still aground.  A person who answered a call to Sea Tow Oregon Inlet said he didn’t have time to talk, but that crews were making progress in the freezing temperatures and still gusty northwest winds.

Peacock said that the Coast Guard was watching the situation and did not consider the trawler a threat to the Bonner Bridge over Oregon Inlet.

Click here for video of the grounded Sheila Rene.  Video was taken by a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter crew.

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