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American Boxship Rescues Disabled Sailboat Off Dutch Harbor

eisenhower, rescue, alaska, north pacific
The survivor rowing a dinghy from the disabled sailboat to the President Eisenhower (USCG)

By The Maritime Executive 06-05-2020 04:59:55

On Thursday, the crew of the U.S.-flagged bulker President Eisenhower resuced a 67-year-old man from a disabled and drifting sailboat at a position about 500 nautical miles soutwest of Dutch Harbor.

At about 0900 hours Thursday, Coast Guard District 17 received an EPIRB distress alert from the sailing vessel Miss Lilly. The man aboard reported that the vessel was disabled and adrift, and he was in need of Coast Guard assistance. 

Due to the long distance to the position, the District 17 command center requested help from nearby commercial vessels using the AMVER system, along with an urgent GMDSS broadcast. The center also diverted the Coast Guard cutter Mellon and launched an Air Station Kodiak C-130J Hercules aircraft to assist with the search and provide a communications platform.

The crew of the boxship President Eisenhower responded to the alert and diverted 30 nautical miles to assist the Miss Lilly. The President Eisenhower arrived on-scene and established verbal communications with the man who wanted to abandon his vessel and come on board, reporting that the sailboat was no longer safe or seaworthy. Luckily, the weather was exceptionally calm, with 10 miles visibility, calm winds, two-foot seas and an air temperature of 50 degrees Fahrenheit. The crew of the President Eisenhower launched one of their small boats, retrieved the distressed sailor and brought him aboard. 

"This individual is very lucky the motor vessel President Eisenhower was relatively close and answered our urgent broadcast to assist - their efforts are commendable," said Adam DeRocher, the District 17 Senior Search and Rescue Controller. "The sailing vessel Miss Lilly was so far away from our assets it would have taken much longer for us to arrive on scene to assist."

According to the Coast Guard, the President Eisenhower's intervention may have saved the sailor's life. All of the boat's sails were ripped, the engine was inoperable and the electronics all failed except for the EPIRB.

The President Eisenhower (ex names CMA CGM Indus, Hanjin Dallas) is a U.S.-flagged, 7,500 TEU container ship built in South Korea. At the time of the rescue she was under way on a voyage from Oakland to Yokohama.