By Ed Baxter, Military Sealift Command Far East
USNS SEAY, At Sea (NNS) — Mariners aboard USNS Seay (T-AKR 302) rendered assistance to a commercial vessel in distress while underway in the Indian Ocean, June 25.
Raptor, a 49-foot, Australian-flagged catamaran, radioed Seay, a Navy ship assigned to Diego Garcia-based Maritime Prepositioning Ship Squadron Two, indicating they had five crew members aboard of various nationalities, and that all were in good health and spirits. Raptor’s crew said the vessel experienced trouble with its sails June 20 before its engines failed. Capt. Bruce Kreger, Seay’s civilian master, immediately ordered Seay to change course and render assistance.
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“The crew of Raptor seemed anxious to effect repairs and get back on their voyage,” said Kreger.
After consulting with British Indian Ocean Territory Diego Garcia customs and police, Seay towed the stricken vessel to Diego Garcia.
“It took about 20 hours to complete the tow but safety of the vessels was our primary objective,” Kreger said.
Approximately three nautical miles from Diego Garcia lagoon, a small craft assigned to Diego Garcia’s port operations met the catamaran and towed it safely to the pier. Raptor is scheduled to undergo repairs at Diego Garcia.
Seay is one of 12 Navy ships assigned to MSC’s Maritime Prepositioning Ship Squadron 2, which ensures the readiness of Navy prepositioning ships in the Pacific. These ships carry afloat prepositioned cargo for various U.S. military services. The squadron’s mission is to transport vital equipment and supplies to a designated area of operations in support of combatant commanders worldwide.
Military Sealift Command operates approximately 110 noncombatant, U.S. merchant mariner-crewed ships that replenish U.S. Navy ships, conduct specialized missions, strategically preposition combat cargo at sea around the world, and move military cargo and supplies used by deployed U.S. forces and coalition partners.