Crowley-managed boxship assists Cuban rafters

The following is the text of a news release from Crowley Maritime Corp.:

(JACKSONVILLE, Fla.) — The Crowley-managed Philadelphia Express, a 3,237-TEU containership, recently provided assistance to nine Cubans on a makeshift raft adrift near Key West, Fla. As the vessel was steaming from Houston, Texas, to Savannah, Ga., crewmembers spotted the floating object with people aboard waving in distress.

Capt. D.A. Sulin, master, Philadelphia Express, began circling back to the position of the raft and notified U.S. Coast Guard Sector Key West of the situation. Upon order from USCG, the vessel passed close to the raft to better determine the nature of the distress and was then asked to stay on scene in order to prevent other large vessel traffic getting to close to the raft and to boost the morale of the raft’s occupants until the USCG response vessel could arrive. The 8-by-5-foot raft was made up of large blocks of Styrofoam and was floating very low in the water with less than a foot above the waterline. 

Once the USCG arrived on scene, Philadelphia Express was released from its standby duties and proceeded on its course toward the port of Savannah.

“The crewmembers participating in this event acted in a very professional manner and are all pleased to have contributed to this rescue effort,” said Sulin. “The Coast Guard vessel was on scene in a remarkably short amount of time and clearly had established procedures in place to affect the rescue.”

By Professional Mariner Staff