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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Coast Guard directs container ship to rescue sailboat crew

Advertiser Staff

U.S. Coast Guard search and rescue coordinators in Honolulu teamed with a container ship crew Tuesday to rescue the crew of a sailboat about 2,240 nautical miles south of Hawai'i.

U.S. Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center watchstanders received an emergency radio signal about 4:30 a.m. The Coast Guard issued a broadcast asking for ships in the area to assist.

The crew of the container ship Mineral Noble immediately responded to the broadcast. It made communication with the sailing vessel, Stray Dog, and discovered it was taking on water. The crew of the Mineral Noble arrived on scene at 3:30 p.m. and transferred the two people aboard their ship.

The Mineral Noble responded to the request for help under the Automated Mutual Assistance Vessel Rescue (AMVER) system.

"In a situation like this, it really shows why the AMVER system can play an important part in our search and rescue operations," said Coast Guard Lt. Miles Jenkins, a search and rescue controller with the JRCC. "The boat was in immediate danger, and it would have taken more than seven hours for an HC-130 Hercules aircraft from Air Station Barbers Point to arrive on scene; we would not have been able to get there fast enough. We are thankful that mariners who are part of this system are always willing to go out of their way to help other mariners."

AMVER, sponsored by the Coast Guard, is a unique, computer-based, and voluntary global ship reporting system used worldwide by search and rescue authorities to arrange for assistance to persons in distress at sea.