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Press Release | June 13, 2023

Coast Guard, good Samaritans respond to vessel fire in Auke Bay, Alaska

JUNEAU, Alaska — The Coast Guard and good Samaritan vessels responded to a vessel fire in Auke Bay, Alaska, Monday.

The fire was extinguished and all 21 passengers as well as two crew members were safely offloaded at Statter Harbor. No injuries or pollution were reported.

Watchstanders at the Sector Juneau command center received a mayday call over VHF channel 16 from 38-foot merchant vessel Tongass at 2:38 p.m. stating there was a fire aboard the vessel, and they needed assistance.

Watchstanders directed the launch of a 29-foot Response Boat-Small crew from Coast Guard Station Juneau. Good Samaritan vessels Zephyr and Ranger overheard the mayday call and also responded. The vessels arrived on scene within five minutes of the mayday call and safely evacuated all passengers onto Zephyr and Ranger. 

The Coast Guard small boat crew took the two crew members aboard and transported them to Statter Harbor with Tongass in tow.

“This was a best-case scenario,” said Lt. Matt Naylor, the command duty officer at the Sector Juneau command center. “The actions taken by Tongass’ crew as well as the quick response from the good Samaritan vessels and the Coast Guard small boat crew made this an expeditious response.” 

On-scene conditions were 10-mile visibility, winds at 10 mph and 1-foot seas.

The cause of the incident is under investigation