Watchstanders at the Coast Guard’s Fifth District Command Center received notification from the International Emergency Rescue Coordination Center at approximately 9:30 a.m. that a GPS alert had been received from a vessel in distress. The alert also stated that the vessel was experiencing severe weather and that both the sails and engine were inoperable.
District five watchstanders launched a Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City aircrew aboard a HC-130 Hercules aircraft and activated the Automated Mutual-Assistance Vessel Rescue System (AMVER) to alert vessels in the area to the emergent situation and request assistance from them.
The vessel KSL Santiago, a 958-foot bulk carrier, answered the call and diverted to the disabled sailing vessel. The crew of KSL Santiago were able to recover the two mariners and are now transiting to Baltimore.
“This could have gone much differently given the weather conditions, the fact that the boat was disabled and that it was in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean,” said Mr. Kelvin Morgan, operational unit controller for the Fifth District command center. “The fact we have partners like the crew and captain of the KSL Santiago allows cases like this to have a happy ending.”
No injuries were reported.