CIVMARS Help Rescue 5 Near Solomon Islands

June 2011

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SIU Government Services Division members aboard the USNS John Ericsson participated in a rescue of five people who were lost more than 35 miles away from the nearest shore. The rescue took place May 18 near the Solomon Islands.


While conducting routine operations in the Solomon Sea May 17, the Ericsson received notification from the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centers in Australia and Papua New Guinea at about 11 p.m. to be on the lookout for a missing commercial vessel. At about 8 a.m. local time the following morning, OS Tyrone Mouzon spotted a small commercial vessel with five individuals aboard waving frantically. Mouzon notified the watch officer, Third Mate Timothy Gervais, who alerted the Ericsson’s civil service master, Capt. Richard Kirk. Kirk immediately ordered the ship to sail towards the small craft to render assistance.


The Ericsson carefully inched close to the boat and the ship’s crew secured lines to the small craft. Safely secured alongside, the Ericsson brought the commercial sailors on board where they received a medical examination as well as food and water.


“The sailors were tired and dehydrated but they appeared to be in good condition,” said Kirk.


According to Kirk, the five Solomon natives said they were transiting between the Solomons’ Nissian and Bougainville islands when they became disoriented by bad weather and heavy seas, spending two nights and three days lost more than 35 miles out to sea.


“They had no food and water remaining,” said Kirk.

The Ericsson’s crew also salvaged the small boat by placing a large net underneath the vessel, lifting it out of the water using the ship’s crane, and securing the boat to the side of the ship for transport. The Ericsson then made the short transit to nearby Bougainville Island where the five mariners, along with their vessel, were repatriated ashore.



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