July 10, 2006
The command center immediately issued an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast, and launched a rescue boat and crew from Coast Guard Station Juneau. Meanwhile, the crew of the Stella entered their lifeboat after the water filled the engine room, causing the vessel to list to port.
The Taku also received a "mayday" call from the fishing tender Stella at about 3:57 a.m. stating the ship was taking on water and the crew was preparing to abandon ship. The Taku was approximately 25 minutes away and responded to the U.S. Coast Guard call for assistance along with the tug Western Mariner.
The Alaska Marine Highway ferry Taku arrived on scene soon after. Launching their own lifeboat, they towed the Stella's lifeboat away from the rocks and brought the crew safely aboard the Taku. The Taku recovered three crewmembers. The rescued crewmembers were given coffee, breakfast and a stateroom. They had no injuries, according to the Coast Guard.
The Coast Guard rescue boat and crew arrived 5 minutes after the crewmembers were brought aboard the Taku. The USCG assessed the situation of the Stella and escorted the Taku to the Auke Bay Ferry Terminal. Afterwards, the Coast Guard interviewed the Stella's crew and determined the operator fell asleep at the wheel, causing the vessel to hit the rocks at Gull Island, ripping a hole in the vessel.
"Our AMHS crews practice this drill on a weekly basis for just this sort of emergency and from the report we've gotten the crew of the Taku was well prepared to assist a distressed ship," said Capt. John Falvey, AMHS General Manager. "We're proud of their actions. "
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