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All six people aboard No Filter were rescued and returned to shore safely.

On August 20, the F/V Smuggler’s Point, which harvests menhaden exclusively for Omega Protein, participated in an at-sea rescue when a nearby boat caught fire near Ocean City, Maryland. Omega Protein is proud of the quick and professional actions taken by the captain and crew of the Smuggler’s Point, which led to a positive resolution to a dangerous situation.

In the late afternoon on the 20th, the Smuggler’s Point, which is owned and operated by Ocean Harvesters, was returning from a day of fishing off the coast of New Jersey to Omega Protein’s facility in Reedville, Virginia to unload its catch. While steaming off the coast near Ocean City, the crew received a mayday distress call over the radio from another nearby vessel, No Filter. Smuggler’s Point immediately sprang into action, changing course and heading toward the ship’s broadcasted coordinates.

“We were in the right place at the right time,” said Roger Smith, First Mate on the Smuggler’s Point, and a licensed captain. “We were half a mile away at the most.”

The Smuggler’s Point was first to arrive on the scene, where the crew found a vessel on fire and six people in the water. The crew quickly turned the 170-foot Smuggler’s Point toward the distressed people, then deployed life-saving rescue equipment to bring them on board.

The crew remained in constant communication with the Coast Guard and Maryland marine officials throughout the rescue. 

The cause of the fire aboard the No Filter is yet to be determined, but all six crew members were rescued safely. After their rescue from the water, the Smuggler’s Point crew offered them a warm space in the pilothouse, water, “and masks of course,” said Captain Smith, until authorities arrived to take them safely back to shore.

“I’m just thankful we were able to help them,” said Robert Huff, Captain of the Smuggler’s Point. “I feel like it’s something anybody in that situation would’ve done, just like we did.”

“I know it’s something you don’t ever want to have to do and you talk about it and have safety meetings about it and you try to have a plan for it, and in my opinion the rescue went extremely well,” said Captain Smith.

The crewmembers of the Smuggler’s Point are longtime menhaden fishermen, with decades of experience in the industry. Captain Smith has been with the fishery since 1988, working in a variety of roles in both the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico. He has been a vessel captain since 1990. Captain Huff has been with the menhaden fishery since the late 1970s and has served as a captain since 1985.