Coast Guard, good Samaritans rescue 13 people from sinking fishing vessel 63 miles southeast of Chincoteague

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — The Coast Guard and two good Samaritans rescued 13 people from a sinking commercial fishing vessel Friday approximately 63 miles southeast of Chincoteague.

Watchstanders with Coast Guard Sector Virginia received a mayday call at approximately 2 a.m. from the 115-foot commercial fishing vessel, F/V Tremont, stating they were reportedly involved in a collision with the 1000-foot Panamanian-flagged container vessel, MSC Rita. The Tremont crew also reported they were sinking with 13 people aboard and abandoning the vessel.

The watchstanders issued an urgent marine information broadcast and directed the launch of two Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, North Carolina aircraft, an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew and an HC-130 Hercules airplane crew, a Coast Guard Station Chincoteague 47-foot Motor Life Boat boatcrew, as well as diverted the Coast Guard Cutter Rollin Fritch to assist. The good Samaritan vessels, research vessel Atlantis and motor vessel Drystan arrived on scene to assist. The Atlantis launched their smallboat to transfer 12 Tremont crewmembers to the Drystan. The helicopter crew hoisted the Tremont captain from the sinking vessel. 

“Safety of life at sea is the Coast Guard’s top priority,” said Capt. Jennifer Stockwell, commander of Sector Virginia. “These are the life-saving missions for which we train each and every day. While this morning’s events were unfortunate, 13 people were rescued from an extremely perilous situation. The combined efforts of good Samaritans and Coast Guard response assets demonstrates a selfless commitment to others.”

The Tremont crewmembers were transferred to the MLB and taken to the station with no reported injuries. The fishing vessel captain was taken to Coast Guard Sector Virginia with no reported injuries.

The cause of the collision is being investigated.


U.S. Coast Guard 5th District Mid-Atlantic
Contact: 5th District Public Affairs
Office: (757) 398-6272
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