Demonstrating the finest traditions of the Brotherhood of the Sea, the SIU-crewed M/V Ocean Glory recently rescued a fisherman whose capsized boat was about to sink.
On Aug. 14, the Ocean Glory – operated by Seafarers-contracted Intermarine for the U.S. Military Sealift Command – was headed to Banyuwangi, Indonesia, when the AB on watch reported a fisherman in desperate need of assistance.
“AB Waddah Kaid was the first to spot the fisherman,” said Bosun John Coleman. “He’s the real hero of the story, because if he hadn’t seen him, we would have passed right by him.”
The man and his wrecked boat were being swept out of the Bali Strait and into the Indian Ocean, where rescue would be much less likely.
As the ship stayed on station, attempts were made to notify the Indonesian coast guard. “I’m not even sure they ever responded,” said Coleman.
While they were waiting for a response, the crew attempted to pass the man a lifejacket attached to the ship’s heaving line. According to Coleman, the stranded fisherman tossed the lifejacket away when he saw that it wasn’t attached to the ship.
“He wanted to come on board, so when we threw him another lifejacket, he grabbed the heaving line and held on,” Coleman said.
As the sea began to swallow up the overturned boat, the crew pulled the fisherman along the side of the ship, guiding him to the pilot’s ladder. After managing to climb the ladder, the man collapsed on the deck and was rushed to the medical department. He was suffering from exhaustion and dehydration, and was treated for both by the ship’s medical officer.
While the ship continued towards port, mariners took up a collection for the recovering fisherman. “We collected about $400 for him, along with (contributions from) the soldiers on board,” said Coleman.
As soon as the Ocean Glory arrived and docked in Banyuwangi, an ambulance and medical team came aboard to transport the man to a local hospital for further treatment.
The SIU crew aboard the M/V Ocean Glory also included ABs Abdulrahman Saleh and Jonas Robinson, Electrician Ricardo Ducay, QMED Georges Rose, Oiler Andrew Gronotte, Steward/Baker Esper Jordan and ACU Ricardo Ellis. The officers on board were members of the Seafarers-affiliated American Maritime Officers (AMO).
“It was an all-hands situation,” recalled Coleman, before concluding, “It was a very emotional, exciting day.”
The Ocean Glory, a multi-purpose, heavy-lift ship had been sailing under an MSC charter for the previous few months in support of Pacific Pathways, a U.S. Army Pacific mobility operation that supports three exercises and links them into a single operation by using one MSC commercial vessel to carry a designated task force and their force package equipment for the duration.
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