By Greg Bennett TC Media
Four fishermen have been rescued from a sinking fishing vessel off the South Shore just a few hours after the start of the lobster season.
The Coast Guard vessel G. Peddle was assisting at the scene of a fishing boat sinking on Saturday morning. Canadian Coast Guard photo
The vessel Shawn and Gary was reported sinking 20 miles south of Liverpool shortly before 10 a.m. and a Mayday call was issued and relayed by the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Halifax.
The fishermen had abandoned the boat. Two crewmembers were in a liferaft and two were in the water for a short time until were rescued by another nearby vessel, the Patty and Andy, which was only two miles away when the Mayday call came in.
At last report, the bow of the fishing vessel was still above the water and a notice to mariners had been issued due to a hazard to navigation in the area.
A public relations officer with the Canadian Forces confirmed the report of the rescue on Saturday morning but some details about the sinking or the vessel’s homeport were not available.
Captain Liam Mader said the Coast Guard Ship G. Peddle was at the scene of the sinking and had recovered the boat's life raft.
As hundreds of lobster fishing boats hit the water across the Region on Saturday morning, rescue officials were busy.
Dumping day began at 6 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 30 for LFA 34 off southwestern Nova Scotia. The season started at 7 a.m. on Saturday for LFA 33.
The season was supposed to have started on Monday, Nov. 25, but strong forecasted winds throughout the week kept boats tied up.
This has been the longest period that weather has ever delayed the opening of a season. An opening day protocol that was put in place in LFA 34 a few years ago stipulates that winds above 25 knots will automatically postpone the start of the season.
Fishermen are permitted to start hauling catches at one minute after midnight.
Around 1,700 lobster vessels headed to the fishing grounds on the morning of Nov. 30 to dump their lobster traps. There are DFO, Coast Guard and 413 Transport and Rescue Squadron resources on the water and in the air on Nov. 30 to help fishermen in case they run into any trouble.