Labrador crew maintain their smiles despite heavily damaged Arctic vessel
Crew shared video of an encounter with two playful polar bears just two weeks prior
The crew of a fishing vessel that ran into trouble in the Davis Strait is being praised for its quick thinking.
"There was a few tense moments definitely on the ship," said Maj. Rhonda Stephens of the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Halifax.
The F/V Saputi was fishing for turbot Sunday night when it ran into a piece of ice and began taking on water.
Some of the 30 crew members are from Labrador. A Danish Coast Guard ship was able to reach the Saputi and the crew are now safe in Nuuk, Greenland.
- Damaged Arctic fishing vessel F/V Saputi arrives in Greenland
- F/V Saputi en route to Greenland after taking on water
A C130 Hercules aircraft dropped off four additional pumps so crew could remove water from the vessel.
According to Capt. Cameron Hillier, who handles public affairs with the Halifax centre, the ship was taking water as fast as it was pumping it out.
"The problem with that is that as soon as the ship starting moving … as you're going through the water, you're actually increasing the amount of water coming into the ship," Hillier said.
"The ship was literally sinking as it was proceeding to shore and safety."
Stephens agreed, saying that the "high sea state, snow and winds" were a definite challenge.
"So I'm certain that there was a few tense moments for the crew, but they did everything right in placing the call early asking for assistance," she said.
As F/V Saputi transited to port the situation degraded as pumps, bilges & eductors could not keep pace with flooding <a href="https://t.co/D6xHHUEqTs">pic.twitter.com/D6xHHUEqTs</a>—@JTFAtlantic
JFP Atlantic reported that the ship struck ice, opening its hull. The Saputi was expected to arrive in Greenland late Monday, but was delayed due to rough waters.
It arrived safely in Nuuk on Tuesday night, escorted by the Danish Navy patrol vessel the HDMS Knud Rasmussen.
"It was a pretty stressful situation for the folks on board," Hillier said.
"They didn't know that the ship was actually going to be able to make it to shore."
Jonothon Larkham of Port Hope Simpson was onboard and shared photos from the ordeal.
It's been an adventurous month for the crew who, just two weeks prior, shared footage of some playful polar bears it came across while aboard the factory freezer ship.
It's estimated that the vessel may have sustained about $1 million in damages and another $1 million in lost catch.