The SIU-crewed tanker American Pride on Sept. 18 rescued three individuals from a foundering boat near Tampa, Florida.
Recertified Bosun Ronald Webb said the American Pride was headed to anchor when an alarm sounded.
“The fishermen’s boat was sinking and they had gotten into a life raft,” Webb stated. “We deployed a rescue boat and put out a ladder. We towed their raft to the ship, and they came up the ladder…. They had been out there for four days. They were bailing water like a son of a gun when we found them.”
The two men and one woman were in good and grateful spirits as they boarded the Jones Act ship.
“Our guys all went above and beyond and did a great job,” Webb added. “Everything went perfectly, and everybody did what they were supposed to do.”
Steward/Baker Richard Jones said the galley gang happily attended to their unexpected guests. “You know the routine,” he said. “We provided food and water as soon as they came aboard, and also grabbed some blankets. You should have seen their expressions – they were very, very grateful.”
Jones added, “Conditions couldn’t have been any better for the rescue, whereas today (one day later), it’s very windy. For us to spot them like that, it was something.”
SIU members sailing aboard the Intrepid Personnel and Provisioning vessel during the rescue included Webb, Jones, ABs Kervin Guevara, Shaib Juma, Jahn Boman, Natividad Suazo Ortiz and Alfred Acheampong, QEP Emanuel Paul, OMU Marcus Brown, Oiler Greg Alvarez, Chief Cook Adolfo Bermudez and SA Marco Guity. The ship’s officers are members of the Seafarers-affiliated American Maritime Officers.
“The quick and selfless actions of the American Pride crew saved three lives today,” said Capt. Matthew Thompson, commander of Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg.
According to news reports, the rescue happened in the early evening, approximately 45 miles west of Egmont Key. The commercial fishing vessel Captain Bob was sinking when the American Pride approached it, but no one was visible in or near the boat.
After contacting the Coast Guard, the American Pride made a second approach, and this time Chief Mate Brian Enos saw orange smoke, a parachute flare and a life raft approximately three nautical miles southwest of the Captain Bob.
The Coast Guard sent a response boat to pick up the individuals who were rescued. All three were transported to the local Coast Guard station and then released in good condition.