Cargo ship sinks off Puerto Rico; 11 mariners rescued

The following is the text of a press release issued by the U.S. Coast Guard:
(SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico) — Coast Guard watch standers and the crew of a Coast Guard HU-25 Falcon Jet coordinated with the motor tanker Aegean Angel the rescue of 11distressed mariners aboard a life raft Tuesday, after their vessel sank 300 miles south of Puerto Rico

The 11-men crew consisting of nine Guyaneese, one Dominican and one Cuban were forced to abandon the Korean flagged cargo vessel Tel Tale II and board a life raft, after waves reportedly beat on the vessel’s starboard side causing it’s cargo to shift and the vessel to loose it’s steering before finally capsizing and sinking.

Coast Guard Sector San Juan Joint Rescue Sub Center controllers received a 406 MHZ Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon EPIRB distress signal from the motor vessel Tel Tale II at 9:15 p.m. Tuesday.  Controllers immediately launched an HU-25 Falcon Jet from Air Station Borinquen to search for the distressed vessel and conducted an Automated Mutual Assistance Vessel Rescue AMVER callout to identify and notify vessels transiting in the vicinity of the distress.

The Aegean Angel responded to the AMVER callout and was diverted to the scene to provide assistance to the distressed mariners.   The crew of the HU-25 Falcon Jet arrived on scene and located the mariners by utilizing night vision goggles as mariners signaled the aircraft with flashlights and flares.

“The Tel Tale II crewmembers had the right distress signaling equipment aboard the vessel and life raft, which allowed us to locate their signal 50 miles out, and once we found them, we were able to vector the Aegean Angel to their position,” said Lt. Heather Kuta, Air Station Cape Cod HU-25 Falcon Jet pilot. 

“We got a great response from the AMVER vessel Aegean Angel,” said Jaime Balzac, Sector San Juan Controller, the Tel Tale II crewmembers were safely rescued thanks to the prompt response by the crew of the Aegean Angel and the joint communication between them, our command center and our Falcon crew.”

AMVER, sponsored by the United States 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. With AMVER rescue coordinators can identify participating ships in the area of distress and divert the best-suited ship or ships to respond.

AMVER’s mission is to quickly provide search and rescue authorities, on-demand, accurate information on the positions and characteristics of vessels near a reported distress.

– The HU-25 Falcon Jet crew that located the mariners is currently deployed from Coast Guard Air Sation Cape Cod, Mass. to Air Station Borinquen, Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, providing Search and Rescue and Law Enforcement support to Sector San Juan’s area of responsibility.

By Professional Mariner Staff