Navy Cargo Ship Assists at-Sea Rescue

Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Military Sealift Command large, medium-speed, RoRo ship USNS Seay conducted an at-sea rescue operation February 9 in the Straits of Gibraltar. At 12:50 a.m. the 950-ft. military cargo ship was notified by the Tarifa Rescue Coordination Center in Tarifa, Spain, that a small craft in their vicinity had issued a distress signal and needed assistance. With 12-ft. seas and winds blowing up to 30 knots, Seay’s master Capt. Tom Madden and the ship’s crew began the search. Twelve minutes later, they spotted the 25-foot wooden fishing vessel and its four passengers – three adults and one child.

For the next hour, Seay maneuvered to shield the vessel from high winds until a rescue craft from the Tarifa Rescue Coordination Center arrived on-scene to pick up the fishing vessel’s four passengers. The following day Seay arrived in port in Rota, Spain, to load helicopters and equipment used by the U.S. Army’s 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade in Afghanistan. The equipment is being redeployed to the United States. USNS Seay is under long-term charter to the U.S. government and is crewed by U.S. merchant mariners.

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