Marine Link
Thursday, July 18, 2024

Bulk Carrier Crew Rescues Sailors Stranded in Rough Seas

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

June 7, 2024

(Photo: CSL)

(Photo: CSL)

A Panamanian registered bulk carrier came to the aid of a sailboat that was stranded in heavy seas 250 nautical miles off the U.S. East Coast.

On April 24, 2024, the crew of CSL's self-unloader Sheila Ann received a mayday call from a sailboat stranded 16 nautical miles away in rough seas and strong winds. The ship's master and crew relayed the distress call to the U.S. Coast Guard, which said it could not immediately assist due to the adverse weather conditions and long distance from land.

When Sheila Ann arrived on scene, the sailboat was intact with all seven crew accounted for, but had lost steerage. It was decided that the sailboat crew would remain on board while the Sheila Ann crew began towing operations, securing a tow line to the sailboat’s main mast. Initially, conditions allowed for safe towing, but worsening weather with 5-6 meter seas caused difficulties.

After considering releasing the tow line, the crews of both vessels attempted to stabilize the sailboat with a line on the bow sprit, which eventually came loose, leading to the release of the main tow rope. Following advice from the Coast Guard, Sheila Ann sheltered the sailboat, allowing it to steer using minimum speed and its emergency system. The sailboat remained on the leeward side of MV Sheila Ann until the Coast Guard could take over the rescue operation.

The Sheila Ann's captain and his crew relayed all communications until the sailboat reached coastal VHF radio range and could contact the Coast Guard directly. The Coast Guard then ensured the safety of the sailboat’s crew members. The bulker resumed its scheduled voyage, after successfully assisting in the rescue operation.

According to Canada-based CSL, this is the second time in 12 months that the crew of Sheila Ann has been involved in the rescue of a sailboat.

The 225-meter Sheila Ann is a Panamax bulk carrier built in 1999, with a deadweight of 70,037 MT. This vessel currently operates on the coasts of the Americas.