The U. S, Coast Guard has awarded Capt. Edward Ratigan, the master of a purse-seine fishing ship, its Meritorious Public Service Award for his response to the sinking of a fishing vessel in the South Pacific.
The award certificate was signed by Rear Adm. Charles W. Ray, commander of the Fourteenth Coast Guard District.
The presentation took place at the Port Authority in Guam aboard Ratigan' s ship, F/V Pacific Breeze on April 14, 2011.
Pacific Breeze is a purse-seine fishing ship registered in Delaware and owned by Pacific Breeze Fisheries LLC headquartered in Guam.
For extraordinary efforts from 14-24 June 2010, in response to the sinking of the fishing vessel (F/V) Majestic Blue in the South Pacific Ocean approximately 625 nautical miles northwest of Fiji. At approximately 1240 PM Fiji standard time, Captain Edward Ratigan received a distress call from the F/V Majestic Blue and immediately diverted course to the reported position of distress, a distance of over 90 nautical miles. As a prudent and knowledgeable mariner, Captain Ratigan began coordinating his actions with the U. S. Coast Guard while en route to the distress position.
His exceptionally consistent communications throughout the response of the F/V Majestic Blue kept the Coast Guard' s search and rescue planners informed and up to date on the rapidly changing situation. Upon arriving at the scene of the distress, Captain Ratigan led his crew in the recovery of 22 survivors from the F/V Majestic Blue' s skiff and immediately began searching for the Captain and Chief Engineer of the F/V Majestic Blue who had been investigating the source of the leak when the F/V Majestic Blue sank. While directing his crew in the search for the two men, he interviewed the survivors and passed the vital information that he obtained to the Joint Rescue Coordination Center (JRCC) Honolulu.
Captain Ratigan had also began reaching out to other mariners in the area to assist in the search, securing the assistance of three Korean-flagged fishing vessels, the F/V Cosmos Kim, the F/V Ocean Master, and the F/V Lady Maryanne. Providing a critical link in communication, Captain Ratigan, in conjunction with JRCC Honolulu, coordinated the search efforts of these three fishing vessels for several days. Upon the arrival of a U. S. Coast Guard C-130 aircraft, he ensured that the pilots and crew were briefed on the circumstances of the case and his actions thus far. When the search was called off for the two missing men,
Captain Ratigan demonstrated outstanding flexibility, changing his plans in order to steam to American Samoa. He ensured the safety and care of the 22 survivors on board his fishing vessel for 10 days until they could be delivered to the officials in American Samoa for care and transfer back home. Captain Ratigan' s prudence, exceptional communications, and unselfish actions reflect great credit upon himself and are in keeping with the highest traditions of humanitarian service.