Coast Guard crews respond to a commercial fishing vessel that grounded on the north side of the Clatsop Spit at the Columbia River Bar entrance across from Ilwaco on Monday.

According to the Coast Guard, they received a call from the 38-foot commercial fishing vessel Theron shortly before midnight saying that they had lost steering while attempting to cross the bar and was drifting. They also reported that his vessel had grounded several times and had no ability to anchor.

Around 12:30 am as crews approached the boat, but were unable to approach due to conditions, the Coast Guard was told that the boat had grounded and the engine room was filling with water. A Jayhawk helicopter crew launched as the motor life boat crew maneuvered within 150 yards of the Theron to provide support.

Around 1 a.m. the master reported the Theron was losing power due to the flooding, and the helicopter crew arrived on scene and lowered a rescue swimmer, who was able to reach the boat and hoist the master of the vessel to safety. He had no injuries and required no medical treatment.

By the time the sun started to come up, the Theron was almost fully submerged according to reports and had not move from where it grounded. 

Later in the morning, a boat crew verified the vessel was breaking up and reported a minor sheen was visible.

In addition to aiding the coordination of potential salvage efforts, IMD personnel are working to mitigate any potential pollution from the vessel.

The vessel had an estimated 400 gallons of diesel and seven salmon aboard.

Coast Guard Sector Columbia River and Station Cape Disappointment crews say that they will continue to monitor the vessel while Incident Management Division personnel assist with the coordination of salvage efforts.


Photo from U.S. Coast Guard