La Scie fishing crew survives harrowing journey after losing steering during storm

Crew members on the Ocean Surfer II are lucky to be alive after a scary weekend on the open seas.

Coast Guard and 'grace of God' saved 5 people on board, says ship's owner

The Ocean Surfer II ran into stormy seas at the worst possible time. (Submitted)

Crew members on the Ocean Surfer II are lucky to be alive after a harrowing weekend on the open seas.

Five people were on the boat, which was fishing for shrimp 175 kilometres northeast of La Scie on Saturday, when it lost its steering and ability to go into reverse. 

To make matters worse, a major storm was about to hit.

According to owner Terry Ryan, who was on shore, the crew that included his son as skipper battled 50-knot winds, the equivalent of 93 km/h.

He worried they wouldn't be able to make it back home without steering. 

Coast guard arrives

It took two days and co-ordination with the St. John's Maritime Rescue Sub-Centre until the coast guard was able to step in and finally attach a towing line Monday morning. 

"Without that coast guard icebreaker, I don't think they would have made it," said Ryan.

"I think the seas would have overcome her, because with no steering, you can't turn your boat away from the seas."

The coast guard vessel Edward Cornwallis came to the rescue. (Submitted)

The boat was finally docked in La Scie at around 10:30 a.m. Monday.

"It was so rough last night, daylight this morning, when my crew looked out, there were pans of sea ice up on top of our shelter deck," said Ryan. 

'Grace of God' prevails

The vessel was loaded with shrimp, he said.

"Through the grace of God and the help of the coast guard, that Edward Cornwallis, and the help of everybody else, we're all alive today," said Ryan.

When the crew came in, he said he was right there waiting for them.

"I got to hug them all," he said.

He was especially proud of his son for handling the situation so well under life and death stakes.

"For a young skipper he was unbelievable. He kept the situation under control, and my crew was exceptional."

And despite the big scare, Ryan said his crew is still plan on returning to the water.

"Not one of them said, 'no, this is it for me.'"

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