Fishing vessel sinks off Burin Peninsula

19 crew rescued by nearby ship

Josh Pennell
Published on February 23, 2014

Nineteen people were rescued from a sinking ship off the Burin Peninsula Saturday morning.

Just after 9 a.m., the Canadian Coast Guard received a transmission from the 120-foot fishing vessel, Cape Dorset. The ship was flooding fast and sinking. The crew of 19 was abandoning the vessel for a life raft. A Mayday relay broadcast was made and two fishing vessels close to the location responded.

The crew was picked up the Ivy Rose. According to the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) in Halifax, this happened 114 nautical miles due south of Saint-Pierre as the Cape Dorset was reportedly floundering.

A 103 Squadron Cormorant, and 413 Squadron Hercules aircraft were also dispatched, but were not needed.

“This thing couldn’t be done without fishing vessels and other fishermen really helping out and responding,” said Capt. Tyrone Grande of the JRCC.

The coast guard vessel George R. Pearkes initially was going to meet the Ivy Rose to pick up the rescued crew about midnight Saturday. However, weather sea conditions were too rough and, instead, the Pearkes accompanied the Ivy Rose to Trepassey where the crew was brought to shore.

The Cape Dorset is owned by Icewater Seafoods Inc. Owner Bruce Wareham didn’t have details on why the ship sank as of Saturday evening.

“All we know is that the Cape Dorset started taking on water approximately 8:30 this morning Newfoundland time. And the crew had to abandon ship quickly,” he said.

He did confirm the Cape Dorset sank at 2:45 Saturday afternoon.

Wareham said the vessel did not have any known problems and he was waiting to speak with the crew members about what had happened once they arrived on land.

In April of last year, the province announced it would provide $2 million to Icewater in the form of an equity investment to support the financing of what was referred as its new fishing vessel, the Cape Dorset. The investment was meant to increase the vessel’s fish carrying capacity.