U.S. Coast Guard Rescues Two Fishermen in Gulf of Guinea
On March 14, the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Thetis rescued two fishermen in the Gulf of Guinea, about 40 miles south of Sierra Leone. The local authories had already classified the rescuees as missing and presumed dead.
Watchstanders aboard Thetis spotted a 22-foot fishing vessel adrift with two people who appeared to be in distress, and they diverted to provide assistance. Coastguardsmen aboard Thetis provided food, water, and fuel to the fishermen and safely transferred them and their vessel to the Sierra Leone Maritime Authority to be brought ashore.
The rescued fishermen had been lost at sea for three days and had run out of food, water, and fuel. They were presumed dead by local authorities on March 12.
“The U.S. Coast Guard is known throughout the world as a rescue service,” said Cmdr. Randall Chong, commanding officer of the Thetis. “Today, we did just that. My crew did an amazing job in spotting the distressed vessel, rendering assistance, and working with the Sierra Leone Maritime Authority to bring them back home alive safely.”
Thetis is homeported in Key West, Florida, and is normally deployed for search and rescue and for maritime law enforcement operations, primarily counter-narcotics and counter-migration. West Africa is far from her normal area of operations, and she is temporarily deployed to the Gulf of Guinea for the multnational exercise Obangame Express 2019. Her crew will be working with multiple African maritime agencies to conduct joint maritime law enforcement operations such as fisheries, drug interdictions, and marine pollution prevention and response.