Coast Guard, commercial ships team up to rescue sailor in Caribbean

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(SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico) — The Coast Guard cutter Joseph Napier combined efforts with the containership CSCL Long Beach and the LNG tanker Gemmata to rescue a man from a disabled sailing vessel in the Caribbean Sea on Thursday, approximately 114 nautical miles southeast of Yabucoa, Puerto Rico.

Carl Michael Corey, 39, a citizen of the United Kingdom, was transiting solo on New Year’s Eve aboard the 36-foot sailing vessel Jade when it became disabled and adrift in 7-foot seas.

“With deteriorating weather, the Joseph Napier crew quickly employed the cutter small boat to rescue the master of the sailing vessel, showcasing their professionalism and proficiency in such a dynamic environment,” said Lt. Matthew Miller, cutter Joseph Napier commanding officer. “I can’t think of a better way to end 2020 than bringing this boater to safety.”

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A small boat from the cutter Joseph Napier approaches the disabled sailboat Jade in the Caribbean Sea on Dec. 31. The cutter can be seen in the background. U.S. Coast Guard photo

Coast Guard watch standers in Sector San Juan received a notification at 11:40 p.m. Wednesday from the master of the Hong Kong-flagged, 1,105-foot CSCL Long Beach, who relayed a distress call from Jade received via VHF marine radio digital selective calling transmission. Jade was disabled and adrift due to having broken sails, a damaged rudder and not enough fuel to transit to safe harbor in the degrading sea state and weather conditions.

Watch standers immediately diverted Joseph Napier to provide rescue assistance. Gemmata, a Singapore-flagged, 951-foot tanker, also diverted to the scene and served as a communications platform with Jade while Joseph Napier completed a 150-nm transit.

Once on scene, Joseph Napier launched the cutter’s over-the-horizon small boat that came alongside Jade, and the boat crew safely embarked Corey from the disabled sailing vessel. He reportedly did not sustain injuries or require medical assistance.

Joseph Napier transited to Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, where Customs and Border Protection officers received and assisted Corey with gaining admission into the United States for him to make the necessary arrangements to continue his trip.

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

– U.S. Coast Guard

By Professional Mariner Staff