Fishing boat crew adrift in Arctic, await rescue

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IQALUIT, Nunavut — Nine crew members from a fishing boat were adrift in Arctic waters off Baffin Island on Monday and were waiting to be rescued.

Navy Lt. Christine Hurov of Joint Task Force Atlantic said the fishers abandoned their boat in Frobisher Bay, about 400 kilometres from Iqaluit, when it began taking on water.

Naval and coast guard vessels were in the vicinity of their life-raft, as were private boats in the area.

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“Apart from being cold and wet, they’re in good health,” Hurov said from Halifax. “Multiple vessels of opportunity are proceeding to the area and we hope to have them out of the water soon.”

She said all crew members were able to don survival suits and make it into the vessel’s life-boat.

A Canadian Forces Hercules airplane dropped a radio to the crew and communication was established.

The stricken vessel was recently profiled by CBC-TV.

The 21-metre, $2.5-million Atlantic Charger, owned by Bradley Watkins of Cottlesville, N.L., is considered a state-of-the-art fishing vessel.

The vessel, launched in July 2013, is equipped for crab, shrimp and turbot fishing.

The 43-year-old Watkins told the CBC that he’s willing to take risks.

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“I fish hard,” he told the program “Land and Sea.” “I don’t haul in my horns for every little breath of wind.

“I haven’t got no fear of the water. That might get me, one of these days.”

The Canadian Press

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