Crew of U.S.-Flagged Boxship Honored for Rescuing Fishermen Off Japan

Capt. Moore, left, with Capt. Simmons, right (USCG)

Published Aug 12, 2022 4:24 PM by The Maritime Executive

On Wednesday, the U.S. Coast Guard recognized the captain and crew of the boxship CGA CGM Herodote for saving three lives off the coast of Japan in March. 

On March 21, 2022, while underway on a voyage from Saipan to Japan, the crew of the Herodote saw smoke from a fishing vessel about eight nautical miles away. Herodote diverted towards the fire and discovered a Japanese fishing vessel, the Yuujin Maru 51,  completely engulfed in flames. The vessel was burned from the superstructure to the waterline, and it had no visible name or designating marks left. There were no signs of survivors. 

The crew of the Herodote began a search pattern to look for survivors and made a call for assistance from other merchant traffic in the area. They also contacted the U.S. Coast Guard Command Center Honolulu and coordinated with the Japan Coast Guard on the search response.

After a search, Herodote located three survivors in the water, and they were rescued by a Greek-flagged tanker which had joined the effort (the Woodside Rogers).

Herodote continued her search for a total of seven hours until she was relieved by the Japan Coast Guard. Unfortunately, the three fishermen Herodote located were the only survivors out of a crew of eight aboard the Yuujin Maru 51.

For their actions, Capt. Nick Simmons of U.S. Coast Guard Sector Guam presented Capt. Donald Moore and the crew a Coast Guard Certificate of Merit.

"The CMA CGM Herodote crew are most heartily commended for your exemplary preparedness, excellent communication and coordination skills, and meritorious public service to the maritime community," wrote Capt. Simmons in the commendation letter.

Simmons added that the boxship's crew was quite humble about their role and only noted the event as required in their logbook, which was later read by Coast Guard marine inspectors on a routine visit.

"The efforts of Capt. Moore and his crew honor the nautical tradition of assisting fellow mariners," said Simmons. "Merchant mariners are an integral part of the global search and rescue enterprise, and especially in the vast Pacific, they are essential to saving lives."