Last of sunken fishing vessel's crew makes it to dry land in Shelburne, N.S.
SHELBURNE, N.S. -- After a lengthy rescue effort that involved help from the United States Coast Guard, all 31 crewmembers of the Atlantic Destiny scallop-fishing vessel are safely recovering on dry land.
The 39-metre commercial fishing vessel issued a mayday call off the eastern part of George’s Bank, about 220 km off the coast of Yarmouth, at 8 p.m. Tuesday.
The master reported a fire aboard and crew were initially able to get the fire out -- but then it re-ignited. The vessel lost power and was taking on water as it drifted in eight-metre waves and 100 km/h winds.
Rescue efforts were quickly launched from both sides of the Canada-U.S. border.
Just three hours after the Canadian Coast Guard rescued the last four seafarers and two Search and Rescue technicians, the owner of the Atlantic Destiny confirmed the vessel had sunk into the ocean.
"It had drifted off over the edge of the shelf and it's sitting in, probably at least 1,000 metres of water," said Martin Sullivan, the CEO of Ocean Choice International.
The four crew and two search and rescue technicians arrived onshore in Shelburne, N.S. on Thursday morning aboard the Canadian Coast Guard ship Cape Roger.
"We are so proud of how they acted through this whole incident," said Sullivan.
The fishing vessel was two weeks into a three-week trip when a fire broke out.
Both the American and Canadian rescue crews were the key to a successful outcome for an operation with such magnitude comes down to coordination and cooperation.
"At a drop of a hat, we will support each other because of what's at stake here, which is people's lives," said Maj. Mark Norris, the acting commanding officer of 14 Wing Greenwood.
Nova Scotia Premier Iain Rankin thanked the rescuers for their efforts.
"I just want to congratulate the heroes who rescued 31 fishers from the scallop vessel, the Atlantic Destiny, earlier this week," said Rankin.
Leigh Thorburn has been a captain for 26 years.
He says fisherman train for this type of rescue, but executing it is another story.
"In the night time under those circumstances, it would be hard to hold it together," said Thorburn.