By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Michael Campbell, Africa Partnership Station Public AffairsWhile transiting off the coast of Monrovia, Liberia as part of Africa Partnership Station (APS), March 20 High Speed Vessel 2 Swift received a distress call, relayed from the Maritime Regional Coordination Center (RMCC) in Lisbon, of a Portuguese fishing vessel, the Princesa Di Guadiana, stranded 100 nautical miles off the Liberian Coast with no food, water or fuel.
The RMCC contacted Lt. Cmdr. Jose Neto of the Portuguese Navy, who is the APS operations officer aboard the USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43), APS flag ship. Cap Lara, a Greek flagged vessel, remained in the vicinity until Swift arrived to assist the Princesa.
was in a position to assist in relaying the first request for assistance from the vessel, and acted as an intermediary for the three other vessels during the early stages of the incident.
Once given permission to approach the stranded vessel, Swift launched a rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB) into the water to assess the situation. The vessel, which had a small group of fishermen aboard, suffered diesel propulsion engine failure and the ship’s electrical generator was quickly running out of power.
It was definitely an interesting experience, said Engineman 1st Class Bill Hamilton, crew member of the RHIB who assisted the stranded vessel and boat engineer during the event. It was my first time doing a boat operation like this one at night. We approached the stranded ship, and we could tell they were very happy to see us. We delivered food and water and made sure they would be alright until their repair parts came in and we returned back to our ship.
Once on the scene, crew members from Swift, members of Mobile Security Squadron 3 and Dr. Augustus Vogel, of the office of the Oceanographer of the Navy, who is embarked on board Swift in support of APS, approached the vessel to assist.
Vogel acted as an interpreter for the event once the crew arrived at the Princesa Di Guadiana. The small group of Sailors successfully delivered two cases of Meals-Ready-To-Eat and several cases of bottles of water.
Princesa arrived safely in on March 23.