The U.S.-flagged vehicle carrier Green Lake saved seven people from the Panama-flagged Sincerity Ace after it caught fire in the North Pacific late on Dec. 30, 2018. Capt. William Boyce and chief mate Kevin Camarda oversaw a chaotic rescue that utilized every crewmember on board during the 18-hour ordeal.
Here is how Boyce described the event, with the contributions from each crewmember:
• “Under the guidance of chief mate Kevin Camarda, chief engineer Joe Tierney, first engineer Shauna Glasser and bosun Isaac Amissah, the deck crew of Bernardo Bartolome, Ted Thompson, Robert Calvo and Paul Gottschling worked tirelessly (on Dec. 31) from 0200 to 2000 rigging, improvising and figuring out how we were going to get the survivors on board.”
• “It was challenging and dangerous, and they all performed admirably. The second mate, Chelsea Martin, handled the bridge telegraph, thruster, satphone calls, USCG HC-130 coms, and kept an extremely accurate detailed log. Chelsea multitasked like I have never seen anyone do for 11 straight hours.”
• “Third mate Matt Morgan was invaluable providing lookout guidance from the bow in a calm, clear demeanor as Green Lake approached each survivor at slow/half ahead and they disappeared from sight. AB John Rawlings was on the wheel for 16 straight hours with minimal breaks and steered so true and so skillfully in the challenging wind conditions.”
• “Engine cadet Jeffery Attardi worked the bridge telegraph for a time and assisted in the engine room along with second assistant engineer Thomas Pollock, third engineer Maria Asuncion and oiler Mario Santos. Green Lake maneuvered for a very long time, and engine crew kept things together below and provided critical assistance at the bunker crane. Oiler Godofredo Banatao and utility mariner Jolanta Goch provided blankets, food, clothes and yelled constant encouragement to the survivors in the water.”
• “Chief cook Jose Clotter was on the bridge holding a hand-held searchlight until sunrise. He and steward Peter Schuetz kept all fed well for five days en route to Honolulu. U.S. Merchant Marine Academy deck cadet Christopher Cashman became the ship triage medical officer and evaluated all survivors, and he responded accordingly in hypothermia cases. We had some serious medical issues with survivors at first and he did well with providing treatment.”
Since the event, Boyce has been an outspoken advocate for crew mental health issues at sea. He said vessel operator Seabulk and owner Waterman Transport Inc. have become proactive on the issue and invested in crew comforts and other resources critical to mariners’ health while on land and at sea.