(Contributed Photos Paul Allen) Ventura Harbor’s Vessel Assist execute an operation to safely remove a vessel that had run aground at Cluster Point, on Santa Rosa Island.

Staff Report:

The commercial fishing vessel, the Western Warrior, which fishes for black cod and bottom fish species, based out of Oxnard’s Channel Island Harbor, reportedly ran aground, bow first, on October 12, 2016, along the rugged and rocky coastline at Cluster Point, on Santa Rosa Island, in the Channel Islands National Park.

According to Ventura Harbor based Vessel Assist’s Captain Paul Amaral, who safely extracted the grounded vessel from Cluster Point, along with two employees Randy Davis and Brian Cunningham, were able to respond in a 3.5 hour passage to the incident, on the same day. Vessel Assist dispatched two vessels, the Fast Response Retriever and Assist Ventura, to the location of the Western Warrior, and upon arrival, were greeted by the local bull elephant seals in the ocean and on the rocks of Cluster Point, near the grounded vessel.

According to Captain Amaral, the Coast Guard received a radio distress call from the grounded vessel, the 36 foot and 25 net ton, Western Warrior, who then promptly relayed to the Vessel Assist office at Ventura Harbor.

The Coast Guard, immediately dispatched a rescue helicopter from Pt. Mugu Naval Air Station, which rapidly deployed to the scene and safely rescued the stranded fisherman from the vessel.

After arriving at the scene, Captain Amaral and his staff, analyzed the vessels exact location and condition on Cluster Point. It was then determined, that experienced diver Randy Davis, was to free swim approximately 600-700 feet distance, with a tow line made of high strength Amsteal to the grounded vessel. Davis recounted the prospect of swimming in the water as a concern, with large bull elephant seals in close proximity, as he swam to the vessel and back, after attaching the tow-line to the grounded vessel’s stern gunnels.

The Vessel Assist team, after Davis’s safe return, led by Captain Amaral, then had to wait for high tide, in an attempt to maneuver and free the vessel off the rocks at Cluster Point.

The Vessel Assist team, were able to safely work and free the Western Warrior. It was just before dark, that the grounded Western Warrior, was able to start the long and arduous tow back to Channel Islands Harbor, where they arrived the following morning on October 13, 2016, after a careful towing operation around Santa Rosa Island and across the Santa Barbara Channel.

The NOAA flew a chartered airplane, while the operation was in progress for aerial photographic images and monitoring, because the incident occurred at Channel Islands National Park.

All Coast Guard and Vessel Assist crews, safely returned to their bases and there was no report on the condition of the rescued fisherman.

(Contributed Photos Captain Paul Amaral) Ventura Harbor’s Vessel Assist execute an operation to safely remove a vessel that had run aground at Cluster Point, on Santa Rosa Island.


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