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LNG Carrier Rescues Two German Sailors off Puerto Rico

BW Lilac
Courtesy USCG

Published Apr 19, 2022 8:22 PM by The Maritime Executive

Over the holiday weekend, the LNG carrier BW Lilac rescued two German sailors from their yacht off the coast of Puerto Rico. 

Coast Guard watchstanders in Sector San Juan received a relayed distress call at 2145 hours Saturday from the International Emergency Response Coordination Center, a private-sector SAR service center owned by electronics manufacturer Garmin. The IERCC asked Sector San Juan if the Coast Guard could medevac the master of the sailing yacht Uplace, who had reportedly sustained a leg injury.  

Sector San Juan issued a GMDSS alert for maritime traffic near the scene of the distress. The BW Lilac responded, and she agreed to divert to provide assistance. 

The Uplace was located about 340 nm north of the coast of Puerto Rico. On BW Lilac's arrival, surface conditions were rough with 12-foot seas. The BW Lilac's crew successfully rescued one man and one woman, both German nationals in their 60s. The crew reported to the Coast Guard that the woman had broken her wrist. 

On Monday, a helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen flew out to meet BW Lilac at a position about 110 miles north of Aguadilla. The aircrew safely hoisted and delivered both survivors to the airport in San Juan, where they were met by EMS personnel.

“We were happy to get the patients to safety and a higher level of care after such a scary incident,” said Petty Officer Rich Stewart, MH-60T Jayhawk helicopter flight mechanic and aircrew for the case. “A huge thanks to the BW Lilac for going out of their way to take them aboard and ensure they were taken care of.”

BW Lilac is enrolled in the Automated Mutual-Assistance Vessel Rescue system (AMVER), a voluntary support scheme sponsored by the United States Coast Guard. The system has saved thousands of seafarers' lives since its founding in 1958.