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Thursday, July 18, 2024

US Coast Guard Aids Supply Ship Taking on Water in the Caribbean Sea

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

June 7, 2024

(Photo: U.S. Coast Guard)

(Photo: U.S. Coast Guard)

A U.S. Coast Guard aircrew came to the aid of a Vanuatu-flagged supply vessel that was taking on water in the Caribbean Sea, approximately 22 nautical miles south of Puerto Rico.

On May 25, the Sea Falcon was transiting to Tortola, British Virgin Islands with four people on board when the vessel's master reported to watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector San Juan that the 121-foot-long ship was taking on water through a crack in its hull. The master said the rate of flooding was approximately 300 gallons per minute, and that the crew was using dewatering pumps that were not keeping up with flooding in the bilge.

Following the distress call, the Coast Guard issued an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast to alert nearby vessel traffic of the distress, they directed the launch of a Coast Guard MH-60T Jayhawk helicopter to provide rescue assistance on scene and notified local Puerto Rico Joint Force of Rapid Action marine units of the developing situation.

Once on scene, the Coast Guard helicopter deployed a rescue swimmer to assess the situation on board the stricken vessel. The rescue swimmer confirmed approximately three inches of water in the engine room due to a three-inch crack in the vessel’s hull. Once the portable dewatering pump was set up, the rescue swimmer confirmed the water level decreased to about two inches.

The aircrew then recovered the rescue swimmer and returned to Air Station Borinquen.

Later that morning, the Sea Falcon—which was transporting two vehicles, construction materials, glass and one container with dry goods—confirmed the vessel’s safe arrival and mooring in Tortola, British, Virgin Islands.

“We are happy to assist the crew of the Sea Falcon, providing them with a dewatering pump to stem the flow of the leak,” said Lt. Travis Cox, Coast Guard MH-60T Jayhawk aircraft commander of the case. “Sector San Juan, Air Station Borinquen and the Sea Falcon crew worked well together and made this case seem routine.”