The following is the text of a press release issued by the U.S. Military Sealift Command:
(PUERTO QUETZEL, Guatemala) — Seven Guatemalan special forces sailors were rescued from their capsized vessel by High Speed Vessel Swift (HSV 2) Sailors and merchant mariners off the coast of Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala, July 10. The Guatemalan vessel was capsized during a Guatemalan drug interdiction operation as it became entangled with a sinking semi-submersible drug boat.
Upon arrival at the scene, Swift Sailors and merchant mariners transferred the Guatemalan sailors aboard, who were suffering from exposure. The four personnel who were aboard the drug boat were transferred to a Guatemalan coast guard vessel.
Swift and the rescued sailors received a hero’s welcome from Brig. Gen. Juan Jose Ruiz Morales, chief of staff of national defense in Guatemala, and a receiving line of Guatemalan service members upon their return to Puerto Quetzal. Morales personally thanked the Swift crew for their aid in the rescue mission.
Swift is currently deployed for Southern Partnership Station 2010, a deployment of various specialty platforms to the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility in the Caribbean and Central America. Its primary goal is information exchanging with navies, coast guards and civilian services throughout these regions.
Guatemala is the fifth stop for Swift and SPS 2010, which has also visited El Salvador, Haiti, Jamaica, Nicaragua and Panama during the mission.
Swift is crewed by 17 civilian contract mariners working for a private company under charter to the U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command (MSC) and 19 Sailors assigned to MSC who are responsible for support operations including communication and supply functions.