NEWPORT — Coast Guard crew members aboard three separate vessels towed a 50-foot tuna fishing boat 116 miles over four days into Yaquina Bay on Wednesday.
The 41-ton Ruby Lily, carrying three crew members and 6 tons of albacore tuna, reported a stuck rudder to the Coast Guard on Sunday evening. A bait tank bolted to a compartment below deck prevented the boat’s crew from working on the steering gear to straighten the rudder.
The 110-foot Coast Guard cutter Orcas left Astoria on Monday morning, reached the Ruby Lily later in the day and began to tow. The strain of the stuck rudder eventually broke the metal towing bridle. The crew of the Orcas used a backup nylon bridle, which eventually broke 93 miles from the coast.
The 52-foot motor Lifeboat Victory launched from Station Yaquina Bay on Monday night and arrived Tuesday morning to assist. A crew member of the Ruby Lily attached a winch to the stuck rudder, which the crew of the Victory then pulled straight.
The crew of the Victory then towed the Ruby Lily 13 hours to the Yaquina Bay Bar, where they were relieved by the crew of a 47-foot motor lifeboat, who towed the fishing boat into the marina early Wednesday. The Coast Guard reported no injuries.
“Responding to incidents that far from shore is a monumental task for a lifeboat crew and the team displayed exceptional fortitude, endurance, and a bit of ingenuity during their 24-hour tow,” Lt. Cmdr. Scott McGrew, search and rescue coordinator for the Coast Guard’s District 13, said in a news release.