Bulker Rescues Two From Disabled Sailboat in Heavy Weather

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On Saturday afternoon, the U.S. Coast Guard and a merchant bulker worked together to rescue two people from a sailboat that had been disabled by weather about 300 nautical miles east of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. 

Watchstanders at the Coast Guard’s Fifth District Command Center received an alert from the GEOS International Emergency Rescue Coordination Center at about 0930 hours, which reported that a GPS alert had been received from a vessel in distress. The alert contained the information that the vessel was in the midst of a storm and that both the sails and engine were not functioning. 

District Five launched a SAR aircrew aboard a C-130 Hercules aircraft and activated the AMVER System to call for assistance from merchant ships in the area. 

Image courtesy USCG

The bulker KSL Santiago answered the call and diverted to meet disabled sailing vessel. Despite heavy seas, the crew of the KSL Santiago were able to recover the two sailors safe and well, and the ship got back under way on her commercial voyage 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 Kelvin Morgan, operational unit controller at the Fifth District command center. “The fact we have partners like the crew and captain of the KSL Santiago allows cases like this to [end well].”

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