Thirteen people, including a child, were rescued from a New Bedford-based fishing vessel by the U.S. Coast Guard and a crew of Woods Hole scientists. The boat sank off the coast of Virginia in the predawn hours last Friday. 

The F/V Tremont, a 115-foot squid boat ported in New Bedford, was involved in a collision with a 1,000-foot Panamanian-flagged container vessel, MSC Rita, about 60 miles off the northern coast of Virginia. A mayday call was received by the Coast Guard about 2 a.m., Friday. 

All crew members were rescued without any injuries. A Coast Guard spokesman said it is not yet clear which vessel caused the collision.


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The mayday call was picked up by the Atlantis, a 274-foot research vessel operated by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. The captain of the Atlantis motored 8 miles to the fishing vessel, WHOI said in an email. The research vessel then launched its small auxiliary boat to help transfer 12 Tremont crew members off the sinking vessel and onto a nearby fishing vessel that also responded to the accident. A Coast Guard helicopter later used a basket to hoist the captain to safety. 

The WHOI research vessel was at sea as part of a three-week mission “conducting research dives on methane gas seeps from the ocean floor,” it said in an email. Photos shared by WHOI show a crew clad in orange immersion suits boarding the Tremont — its stern almost completely submerged. 

The Tremont, a large green trawler, was a common sight for those passing over the Fairhaven bridge. It was built in 1970 and owned most recently by Michael Walsh, who also owns a small fleet of groundfish vessels ported in New Bedford. Sources familiar with the operation say the vessel had been at sea for about three weeks and was steaming back to port, loaded with about half-a-million pounds of squid. 


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“They did have catch on board,” said a Coast Guard spokesman. “We understand they were at or nearing the end of their trip.” The Coast Guard confirmed there was a child on board at the time of the accident, but did not provide further information. 

Walsh declined to comment when reached by phone. He said he is thankful everyone is safe. The cause of the collision is being investigated, the Coast Guard said in a statement. 

“While this morning’s events were unfortunate, 13 people were rescued from an extremely perilous situation,” said Capt. Jennifer Stockwell, commander of Sector Virginia. “The combined efforts of good Samaritans and Coast Guard response assets demonstrates a selfless commitment to others.”