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The crew of a Maersk Line, Limited tanker conducted a nighttime rescue of a mariner who was in the water for 24 hours after his vessel capsized in the Aegean Sea.
Details of the December 22 rescue involving the U.S.-flagged MT Maersk Peary, while en route to Antartica via the Suez Canal, are just now coming to view.
At 2030 hrs local time, Maersk Peary was transiting the Aegean Sea north of Crete when it received a call from Rescue Center Piraeus, Greece to join in a search mission for a vessel which had capsized the previous day.
Rescue Center Piraeus directed the Captain of the Maersk Peary to a course change and to contact the Greek Coast Guard and a Greek Naval vessel who was serving as the command vessel.
The command vessel provided the coordinates for the search route and to proceed there while keeping a lookout for any survivors in the water. At 2048 hrs, upon entering the search zone, the Maersk Peary reduced speed, posted extra lookouts and manned search lights while performing the grid search.
At 2157 hrs, after about an hour of slow steaming the Captain of the Maersk Peary noticed something in the water on the starboard bow. As the vessel got closer, a person could be seen with arms raised holding onto a white object, later identified as a boat fender.
Maersk Peary stopped engines and a bridge wing lifering buoy, orange smoke and light was released while instructing the person to “go near the light with the attached buoy and hold on.” The Captain began to back the engine while turning hard to starboard and keeping an eye on the buoy light as the vessel passed by.
As the 590 foot long tanker got near, the delicate operation of maneuvering safely to the person began with a rescue boat crew preparing to launch. The command vessel was contacted and advised that a survivor was located in the water and that Maersk Peary was launching her rescue boat – and to send help immediately for the survivor. The Command Vessel then dispatched the Greek Coast Guard vessel to the location while the rescue team made the initial recovery.
At 2212 hrs, the Maersk Peary rescue boat launched to aid the mariner who was struggling to stay afloat.
At 2218 hrs, the rescue boat crew arrived alongside the lone survivor and pulled him into the boat. They wrapped him in blankets and proceeded back to the vessel. Shortly after this, the Greek Coast vessel arrived at 2230 hrs.
At that time, Maersk Peary reported into Greek Search and Rescue Command who requested the vessel continue the grid search for any other survivors until other vessels arrived in the vicinity and could relieve the Maersk Peary.
The total search and rescue time amounted to six hours. For the crew of the Maersk Peary, it was an outstanding effort for all involved, Maersk Line, Limited tells gCaptain.com.
The 38,277 ton deadweight Maersk Peary is a U.S.-flagged oil/chemical tanker operated by Maersk Line, Limited and designed for working in polar regions. The ship is a regular participant in Military Sealift Command’s annual resupply mission to McMurdo Station in Antarctica, known as Operation Deep Freeze, in support of the National Science Foundation (NSF).
Prior to the rescue, Maersk Perry had departed a fuel pier in Greece with a year’s supply of diesel and jet fuel and will deliver the cargo to the ice pier at McMurdo station. The ship is named after Rear Admiral Robert E. Peary who famously reached the Geographic North Pole in 1909 and led various research missions to the Arctic.
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