A US Coast Guard Hercules HC-130 aircraft and an oil tanker responded and made the rescues.
Forty-two people forced to abandon ship when their fishing vessel caught fire in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean were rescued in a joint effort on Wednesday.
The 258-foot U.S.-flagged fishing vessel, American Eagle, was 1,800 miles south of the Hawaiian Islands when the boat caught fire prompting the evacuation.
The crew of the ship reported the incident to the US Coast Guard in Hawaii at 8:38 a.m. local time.
In a statement, the Coast Guard said it dispatched an HC-130 Hercules airplane crew from the air base in Hawaii. Arriving on the scene at 5:10 p.m. (HST), the plane found the 33 crew members in two life rafts, three work boats and a skiff.
The Coast Guard crew established communications with the fishing vessel’s crew and dropped a dewatering pump, flash lights and flares.
Fong Seong 888, a Tuvalu-flagged oil tanker, arrived on scene at 5:30 p.m. (HST) to offer additional assistance.
When the smoke from the stricken vessel lessened, the captain reboarded the vessel with eight crew members to suppress the fire.
The captain reported the fire extinguished and the American Eagle to be in stable condition. The team of nine were able to restart the generator, reestablish electricity and maintain communication. The remaining 33 crew members were successfully recovered from their life rafts, work boats and skiff by the Fong Seong 888.
American Eagle’s sister ship, American Victory, is en route and expected to arrive in three days to relieve the Fong Seong 888. An emergency position-indicating radio beacon was activated and continues to transmit information. No injuries were reported, according to the Coast Guard.
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