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      Coast Guard assists fishing vessel taking on water

      Photo from Coast Guard

      Coast Guard crews helped out a fishing vessel Saturday morning, after the ship began taking on water.

      At 4:30 a.m., the fishing vessel, Jessica Ann, contacted Coast Guard at South Padre Island about the water coming into the vessel.

      Although the ship was about 10 miles east of South Padre Island, Jessica Ann TMs captain could not provide an exact GPS location.

      The Coast Guard Station in Corpus Christi launched an HU-25 Falcon fixed-wing aircraft to search for the vessel and a 41-foot Utility Boat was sent off from the South Padre Island Station.

      Throughout the search, Jessica Ann's three crewmembers aboard launched emergency flares to help the Coast Guard find them.

      At 5:30 a.m., the Coast Guard aircraft saw one of the vessel TMs emergency flares and parachute-dropped a dewatering pump.

      When we arrived on scene, the weather was deteriorating rapidly with seas growing to 6 feet and rain reducing visibility down to one half mile, said Petty Officer 3rd Class Lars Arrington, coxswain of the rescue boat. Our boat station TMs officer the day thought to coordinate with the Jessica Ann to light off flares as we got close. The ship was using Long Range Navigation (LORAN), which is no longer a reliable position reporting source, so we had to guess. If it weren TMt for the flares, with the weather we had, we may not have found them in time."

      "The Jessica Ann was listing to one side with 5 feet of flooding, taking on water through the ship TMs propeller shaft and was not able to pump water out with the ship TMs inoperative bilge pumps," said Arrington. "A little after 7 a.m., we had controlled the flooding enough to make it ready to tow back into port.

      A good Samaritan vessel, Miss Joanna, assisted in towing the Jessica Ann back to Port Isabel.

      The ship returned to port at 12:20 p.m.