Please select your home edition
Edition
GJW Direct - Yacht 2019 - Leaderboard

Coast Guard warns against false distress calls after suspected hoax near Sprucehead, Maine

by U.S. Coast Guard 1st District Northeast 5 Dec 2020 21:11 UTC
Coast Guard Cutter Reliance patrols the Western Caribbean in support of the Joint Interagency Task Force - South October 2014. © U.S. Coast Guard / Petty Officer 3rd Class Clinton McDonald

The Coast Guard suspended its search Thursday at 11:15 a.m. for a vessel and crew reportedly taking on water in the vicinity of Sprucehead, Maine, after multiple searches yielded no findings or correlating information.

At approximately 6:30 a.m., Coast Guard Sector Northern New England watchstanders received a mayday transmission through VHF radio channel 16 - the internationally recognized hailing and distress frequency - from the crew of a 42-foot fishing vessel stating the boat was taking on water. Over several minutes the caller described the vessel and crew's situation in detail, stating that the rudder was broken and the vessel's dewatering pumps could not keep up with flooding.

Communication then ceased as Coast Guard rescue crews from Rockland and Cape Cod, Massachusetts, launched to search for the vessel and potential survivors.

"Our Coast Guard rescue crews thrive on taking risks for the sake of helping others in distress on the water," said Capt. Brian LeFebvre, commanding officer of Coast Guard Sector Northern New England. "Hoax distress calls - like the one we received this morning - unnecessarily put our rescue crews at risk, drain resources, and may limit our ability to respond to actual emergencies. Today's hoax is particularly offensive given the loss of four fishermen aboard the EMMY ROSE just last week. We will use all available resources to identify and hold the responsible individual accountable."

The Coast Guard pursues all distress calls, and when dealing with hoax cases, crews will search until the nature and legitimacy of the calls are resolved. Willfully communicating a false distress message to the Coast Guard is a felony offense under federal law and punishable by up to six years in prison, a $250,000 fine, a $10,000 civil penalty and reimbursement to agencies for all costs incurred in responding to the false distress message.

The search covered approximately 62 square nautical miles and included Coast Guard and state responders.

The following resources searched:

  • A 47-foot Motor Lifeboat from Coast Guard Station Rockland
  • An MH-60 Jayhawk from Air Station Cape Cod
  • Maine Marine Patrol
Listen and download the audio here.

Related Articles

USCGC Campbell conducts winter patrol
Stopping $215 million in cocaine The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Campbell (WMEC 909) returned to Kittery, Maine, on Monday, following a 63-day counter-narcotics patrol in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. Posted on 11 Feb
Coast Guard continues ice breaking operations
The ice breaking operations are in support of Operation Reliable Energy for Northeast Winters The Coast Guard is continuing ice breaking operations as colder temperatures and winter weather impact waterways throughout the Northeast. Posted on 4 Feb
Maine man charged with false distress call to USCG
Nathan Libby is charged with making a false distress call on December 3rd, 2020 Nathan Libby, of Rockland, is charged with making a false distress call to the Coast Guard on December 3rd, 2020 via VHF-FM radio channel 16. Posted on 31 Jan
USCG provides humanitarian assistance to Honduras
Coast Guard Helicopter provided humanitarian assistance to Honduran villages after Hurricane Eta A Coast Guard Helicopter Tactical Squadron (HITRON) MH-65 Dolphin aircrew forward deployed aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Seneca (WMEC-906) provided humanitarian assistance, Friday, to Honduran villages after Hurricane Eta impacted the country. Posted on 17 Nov 2020
U.S. Coast Guard conducts joint Arctic operations
Scientific research off Greenland U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Campbell (WMEC 909) returned to homeport Tuesday, following a two-month deployment supporting joint Arctic operations off Greenland's western coast. Posted on 2 Oct 2020
Coast Guard Foundation announces 167 scholarships
$503,000 in Scholarships for Coast Guard children pursuing degrees The Coast Guard Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to strengthening the Coast Guard community and service by supporting members and families, announced today that it awarded 167 scholarships in 2020, totaling $503,000 in support. Posted on 23 Sep 2020
Coast Guard seeks comment on Shallow Draft System
Conducting a Waterways Analysis and Management System Study The Coast Guard is conducting a Waterways Analysis and Management System Study on the Shallow Draft System, which applies to waters less than 12 feet deep, to update its policies and make navigable waterways of the United States safer and more efficient. Posted on 17 Sep 2020
Coast Guard Foundation honors members virtually
Events will raise funds for Coast Guard members and their families The Coast Guard Foundation announced today the 16th Annual Tribute to the United States Coast Guard from our Nation's Capital will be held in a virtual format. Posted on 26 Aug 2020
Coast Guard prepares for Atlantic hurricane season
Ready to support coast guard families with disaster relief The Coast Guard Foundation announced today it is preparing for the Atlantic hurricane season, predicted by NOAA to be an especially active one. Posted on 7 Jul 2020
USCGC Reliance to depart Portsmouth for last time
Reliance will continue service with two other 210-foot medium endurance cutters The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Reliance crew will depart on patrol from the Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth, New Hampshire July 6, 2020, and return in August to its new homeport of Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida. Posted on 5 Jul 2020
Cyclops 2020 - SmartlinkNano - FOOTERCruise Village 2020 - FOOTERGJW Direct 2020 FOOTER