For the second time in four months, the SIU-crewed Horizon Reliance pulled off a dramatic rescue in the Pacific –more recently, coming to the aid of an81-year-old sailor who had suffered a stroke on June 10.
The 893-foot Reliance picked up Robert Bourdon of Longview, Wash., the next day, about halfway between San Diego and Honolulu. Bourdon was sailing with his son and grandson from the West Coast to Hilo, Hawaii, aboard a 33-foot sailboat (the Gallivant) when the stroke occurred. According to news reports, Bourdon was partially paralyzed and couldn’t speak.
His family members on the boat contacted the Coast Guard, and the Horizon container vessel diverted to the Gallivant’s location after being called by the agency.
Vessel master Captain Barry Costanzi said the Reliance first attempted a “boat transfer,” but when that maneuver was deemed impractical, they “immediately went to plan B, which was to use our crane and a basket” to retrieve Bourdon. The sailboat had too much rigging, however, so the larger vessel deployed its gangway in eight-to-10-foot seas.
Bosun Kissinfor Taylor hauled Bourdon up the accommodation ladder with Chief Engineer Sean Stevens right behind them, the captain noted, adding that Bourdon “was dead weight. He could not walk.”
Costanzi concluded, “These guys really showed some bravery and seamanship in the time-old tradition of rendering assistance at sea. It’s an honor to sail with them.”
Family members arrived in Honolulu from Washington State in time to meet Bourdon on June 13 as crew members carried him on a stretcher down the starboard gangway to an awaiting ambulance. According to the most recent news reports available at the LOG’s press time, doctors expect Bourdon to recover, but he still was paralyzed on his right side and unable to speak. Doctors hadn’t determined how long he will remain hospitalized.
The sailboat had left Olympia, Wash., on May 17.
SIU members sailing aboard the Reliance when the rescue happened included Bosun Taylor, ABs Alan Lumansoc, Rene Rafer, Julius Udan, Ahmed Baabbad, Jerome Luckett, Harold Harper and Venerando Ramos, QEE David Watkins, OMUs Cresente Gumanas, Allen Newgen, Jonas Bocaya,Wilshire Cortez and Mel Sison, GUDE Jamie Merced, EU David Hamilton, Recertified Steward Joseph Laureta, Chief Cooks Teresito Reyes and Romarico Hinayon, SA Mohamed Ahmed and UA Robert Sale.
On Feb. 8, the Reliance overcame exceptionally rough nighttime weather to save three individuals, including a9-year-old boy, whose sailboat became disabled and ultimately sank about 280miles northeast of Hilo.