Coast Guard assists six who escaped burning megayacht

The following is the text of a news release from the U.S. Coast Guard:

(SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico) — The crew of the Coast Guard cutter Joseph Napier escorted a tender with five men and a woman onboard to Anasco, Puerto Rico, after the boaters were forced to abandon a motor yacht that caught fire Monday night in the Atlantic Ocean.

Two Australian, a South African and three U.S. citizens were reportedly traveling from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. to Antigua aboard Miracle, a 110-foot Jamaican-flagged motor yacht, when a fire broke out on board that engulfed the vessel in flames, approximately 70 nautical miles north of Mona Island, Puerto Rico.

Coast Guard watch standers in Sector San Juan received a mayday call from Miracle via VHF Channel 16 marine radio transmission, reporting a fire on board and that the passengers were abandoning the vessel to a 32-foot tender the yacht was towing.

Coast Guard watch standers diverted a patrolling Coast Guard HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft and the Coast Guard cutter Joseph Napier to search for the distressed boaters. The Ocean Sentry aircraft located the vessel on fire and the tender with all six passengers safely on board. The Coast Guard air crew vectored Joseph Napier to the tender’s position. Upon arriving on scene with the tender, the crew of Joseph Napier assessed that all six passengers were in good condition and escorted the tender to Anasco, Puerto Rico, where they were met by Customs and Border Protection officers to coordinate the admission of the boaters to the island.

“This case highlights the importance of communicating distress calls via a VHF marine radio on Channel 16,” said Senior Chief Petty Officer Daniel Capestany, Sector San Juan Command Center supervisor. “Our watch standers received the distress call, identified the position of the vessel and coordinated a response that delivered the boaters to safety.”

Joseph Napier is a 154-foot fast response cutter home-ported in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

By Professional Mariner Staff