Trawler's owner says no one injured in fire below deck

Five fishermen airlifted to Qikiqtani hospital


Five shrimp fishermen from Newfoundland were airlifted to the Qikiqtani hospital in Iqaluit this past Monday after their factory-freezer trawler caught fire late Sunday, Oct. 19.

Their vessel, the Newfoundland Lynx, was fishing for shrimp near Resolution Island when a fire broke out below decks, in the factory area of the ship where the catch is processed, at around 11 Sunday night.

The ship's master issued a mayday call about 30 minutes after the fire started, but crew members eventually extinguished the blaze and sealed off the area.

Geri Grychowski of the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Halifax said her agency sent a CH-149 Cormorant helicopter to the area from Gander, Nfld.

After refueling at Kuujjuaq and Resolution Island, the Cormorant crew hoisted the five fishermen aboard their helicopter and flew them to Iqaluit on the afternoon of Oct. 20 to be checked for possible smoke inhalation.

Paula Kylie, a spokesperson for Ocean Choice International Inc. of St. John's, Nfld., the vessel's owner, said on Monday that the company will now determine if the vessel is able to make it back to Newfoundland on her own.

As of press-time this week, two other vessels, the Acadienne Gale II and the Mersey Phoenix remained in the area to offer help.

Kylie said the company is relieved that no one was injured in the fire.

"All the crew are accounted for and all are safe," Kylie told Nunatsiaq News.

Kylie said the crew members' next of kin have all been notified.

A 212-foot factory-freezer trawler, the Newfoundland Lynx was built for Fisheries Products International Ltd. in 2004, at shipyards in Denmark and Poland.

Ocean Choice International Ltd. acquired the vessel in 2007, when they bought many of FPI's assets.

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