Nine St. Croix residents are safe after they were rescued by the Coast Guard when their vessel ran out of fuel in rough seas Sunday evening about 100 yards east of Judith’s Fancy.
The boat, named Katana, ended up on the rocks of the shoreline after breaking free of the anchor, according to a Coast Guard press release.
“Coast Guard watchstanders at Sector San Juan received a VHF Channel-16 communication from the pleasure craft Katana at 6:04 p.m., Sunday, reporting the vessel had run out of fuel and was drifting towards the reef line with nine people onboard,” according to the press release.
The watchstanders deployed a 33-Special Purpose Craft from the Boat Forces Detachment on St. Croix, whose crew safely removed all the passengers from the vessel, it said.
“Fortunately, the vessel was able to anchor, allowing us to safely transfer all passengers to our boat,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Richard Belcher, Boat Forces Detachment St. Croix coxswain for the case.
“Due to the sea state, we had to push the limitations of both vessels while managing the safety of all personnel involved. Our crew adapted to rapidly changing weather conditions and performed at a high level to ensure all passengers were safely removed and transported to shore,” said Belcher.
The vessel operator planned to return and refuel the vessel on Monday morning. However, the anchor did not hold and the vessel washed ashore on the rocks, according to the press release. Coast Guard response personnel are in communication with the owner, who is currently working on a plan to remove the vessel.
“This case shows the importance of preparedness anytime you go out on the water and that lifesaving equipment such as lifejackets, float plans, and radios can be a deciding factor in survivability,” said Kenny Tucker, Boat Forces Detachment St. Croix supervisor.
“Mariners should keep an eye on the marine weather forecast anytime they go out as conditions change quickly; small craft advisories are put into effect for the safety of the mariner and should be heeded,” said Tucker.