Home News Local news COAST GUARD RESCUES SAILBOAT TAKING ON WATER

COAST GUARD RESCUES SAILBOAT TAKING ON WATER

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Feb. 24, 2002 – High-tech communications played an important role as the U.S. Coast Guard mobilized response to a sailboat in distress Sunday morning after receiving a call for assistance relayed from another vessel.
At 8:22 a.m. the Coast Guard Rescue Coordination Center in San Juan received a distress call from the Cass Away, a 42-foot ketch, saying that the sailboat was taking on water 40 nautical miles east of Virgin Gorda.
The Coast Guard cutter Ocracoke, stationed at San Juan, was diverted from cruise port security operations on St. Thomas, and a helicopter from the Coast Guard Air Station in Borinquen, P.R., was dispatched to assist, according to a Coast Guard release.
Meantime, the sailboat Catalina, which originally had relayed the distress call to the Coast Guard, continued to monitor the situation and headed to the area to assist.
The Rescue Coordination Center sent a distress alert message via INMARSAT, a global satellite network, to alert all ships in the vicinity of the Anegada Passage to the situation. Within minutes, the San Juan center was contacted by some eight large merchant vessels that offered assistance. The one closest to the Cass Away, the Alexander Gracht, which was bound for Europe, voluntarily turned around and headed to assist, the release stated.
The Ocracoke, a 110-foot Island class patrol boat under the command of Lt. Carrie Stoffel, reached the Cass Away at approximately 11:12 a.m. A rescue and assistance team from the patrol boat found the leak in a rusted valve, removed the valve and plugged the hole. The sailboat then was able to continue to the British Virgin Islands, the release said.

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