Matson containership rescues sailors 825 miles off Hawaii

800px Mahimahi Ship 1983 001
800px Mahimahi Ship 1983 001
Courtesy Wikimedia

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

(HONOLULU) — The Coast Guard and crew of the merchant vessel Mahimahi rescued three mariners from the disabled 50-foot trimaran Third Try 825 miles northeast of Oahu on Wednesday.

The crew of Mahimahi brought the mariners back to Honolulu on Thursday afternoon. There are no reports of injuries. A hazard to navigation notice to mariners has been issued regarding the derelict trimaran.

“One of our greatest challenges out here in the Pacific is distance,” said Lt. Diane French, a Joint Rescue Coordination Center (JRCC) command duty officer. “First responders are often days away and we regularly rely on merchant vessel crews like the Mahimahi’s to assist with search and rescue cases. We are always grateful for their help.”

At 8 a.m. Tuesday, JRCC watch standers received a report from a friend of the trimaran’s master stating the vessel had not made contact since Monday. The three mariners aboard were attempting a nonstop circumnavigation of the globe and their last known position was between California and Hawaii.

JRCC watch standers issued a SafetyNet broadcast notifying merchant vessels in the region of the situation and spoke with Third Try’s captain’s friend and family to ascertain the vessel’s intended route.

Watch standers also reached out to Automated Mutual-Assistance Vessel Rescue System (AMVER) ships in the area for assistance and the crew of the nearby Matson containership Mahimahi agreed to divert and travel along Third Try’s suspected route.

At 3:01 p.m. Thursday, JRCC watch standers received an alert from an emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) registered to Third Try. Watch standers updated the SafetyNet broadcast with the new location and launched an Air Station Barbers Point HC-130 Hercules air crew with a life raft aboard in response. They also notified the Mahimahi crew of the new location.

The Hercules air crew arrived on scene and located the adrift Third Try. The air crew reported the vessel had structural damage and had lost its rudder. The mariners were requesting to be removed from the vessel.

At 3:33 a.m., the Mahimahi crew arrived on scene and successfully evacuated the three mariners from Third Try.

AMVER is a worldwide voluntary reporting system sponsored by the United States Coast Guard. It is a computer-based global ship-reporting system used worldwide by search and rescue authorities to arrange for assistance to persons in distress at sea. With AMVER, rescue coordinators can identify participating ships in the area of those in distress and divert the best-suited ship or ships to respond. Engaging in AMVER does not put ships under any additional obligation to assist in search and rescue efforts, beyond that which is required under international law.

By Professional Mariner Staff