Matson crew receives Coast Guard award for rescuing sailors

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

(HONOLULU) — The Coast Guard presented a Meritorious Public Service Award Monday at the Matson terminal to crewmembers from the Matson ship Manukai for the rescue of three men from a sailboat caught in Hurricane Julio, 414 miles northeast of Oahu on Aug. 10.

Rear Adm. Cari Thomas, commander of the 14th Coast Guard District, presented the award to the captain of the Manukai, John Bloomingdale; third mate Justin Moore, and second engineer Josef Eggert.

Ben Nealy, Lee Nealy and Mike Vanway were rescued after the 42-foot sailboat Walkabout was dismasted and flooded while en route from Stockton, Calif., to Honolulu.

After hours of coordination between the sailing vessel and the Coast Guard, the containership crew successfully shot a line to the sailboat and pulled the boat and crew alongside the Manukai. The passengers disembarked the sailboat and climbed a 30-foot ladder draped over the side of Manukai’s hull. On-scene conditions during the rescue were winds of 20 mph with 13-foot seas.

The Coast Guard Meritorious Public Service Award is the second-highest award presented by the Coast Guard to recognize recipients for unusual courage in advancing a Coast Guard mission, substantial contribution to the Coast Guard that produced tangible results and specific individual accomplishments that provide unique benefits to the public.

By Professional Mariner Staff