Containership and LNG Tanker Aid US Coast Guard in Rescue of Sailor

Coast Guard aided by container ship and tanker in rescue
Coast Guard approaching the disabled sailboat (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

Published Jan 5, 2021 7:19 PM by The Maritime Executive

A containership and an LNG tanker worked in unison with the US Coast Guard to come to the aid of a solo sailor in the Caribbean when his 36-foot sailboat was disabled. The combined effort of the two vessels aided the Coast Guard in the rescue.

The incident began on New Year’s Eve when a British sailor, Carl Michael Corey, age 39, was sailing solo in the Caribbean. His boat was disabled in seven-foot seas and drifting.

The Hong Kong-flagged container ship CSCL Long Beach, which had sailed from the Dominican Republic, was the first to receive the distress call from Corey aboard his sailboat the Jade. He reported that he had ripped his sails and damaged his rudder. With the weather conditions deteriorating in the area, he told the master of the containership that he did not believe he had sufficient fuel aboard to reach a safe harbor.

The CSCL Long Beach relayed the distress call to Coast Guard watchstanders in Sector San Juan. The sailboat was approximately 114 nautical miles southeast of Yabucoa, Puerto Rico.

The Coast Guard dispatched cutter Joseph Napier, a 154-foot fast response cutter homeported in San Juan, Puerto Rico, to assist the boater. In addition, the Gemmata, a Singapore flagged LNG tanker, also heard the relayed messages and sailing in the area diverted to the scene to assist while the Coast Guard cutter completed its 150 nautical mile trip to the area.

The Gemmata acted as a communications platform relaying information to the Coast Guard from the sailboat. Once on scene, the Joseph Napier launched the cutter’s Over the Horizon small boat that was able to reach the sailboat. Corey was taken aboard the cutter uninjured and transported to Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, where Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations officers provided him with additional assistance.

"With deteriorating weather, the Joseph Napier crew quickly employed the cutter’s small boat to rescue the master of the sailing vessel showcasing their professionalism and proficiency in such a dynamic environment,” said Lt. Matthew Miller, cutter Joseph Napier commanding officer. “I can't think of a better way to end 2020 than bringing this boater to safety."