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Coast Guard crews and the chemical tank ship Silver Dover assisted an 80-year-old man in distress aboard the sailing vessel Tao Feb. 4, 2023, approximately 57 nautical miles southeast of Puerto Rico. U.S. Coast Guard Photo
Tanker Crew Rescues Boater in Distress Off Puerto Rico
The crew of the chemical tanker Silver Dover is being praised for rendering assistance to a boater in distress in the Caribbean Sea on Saturday morning, approximately 57 nautical miles southeast of Puerto Rico.
Rescued was an 80-year-old man who was the sole passenger aboard the 44-foot sailing vessel Tao when it lost steering and the boater lost his ability to access the vessel’s compass and emergency tiller.
The Tao issued a VHF-Channel 16 communication at 1:45 a.m. Saturday reporting the vessel was in distress and requesting assistance. Coast Guard watchstanders in Sector San Juan were able to establish a communication with the boater and issued a Marine Assistance Request Broadcast to any vessels in the area that could render assistance.
Communication was then lost with the Tao, and with expected sea state conditions deteriorating by the hour, watchstanders proceeded to transmit an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast to advise nearby vessel traffic of a possible distress. They also directed the launch of a Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen MH-60T Jayhawk helicopter to locate the Tao.
As search and rescue coordination efforts continued, the 600-foot Marshall Islands-flagged chemical tanker Silver Dover responded to the broadcast and diverted to render assistance.
As the Coast Guard MH-60T Jayhawk helicopter arrived on scene, the tanker was coming alongside the sailing vessel and embarked the boater. The Coast Guard aircrew deployed their rescue swimmer to the abandoned sailing vessel to activate a Self-Locating Datum Marker Buoy to maintain its position and advise vessel traffic to be on the lookout.
The crew of the Silver Dover reported that the boater was in good health and that he would remain aboard the tanker until it reached its destination in Houston, Texas.
“This case highlights the well-known willingness of commercial shipping vessels such as the tank ship Silver Dover to divert from their regular routes to aid a fellow mariner,” said Lt. Cmdr. Kimberly Shadwick, U.S. Coast Guard Sector San Juan Search and Rescue mission coordinator for the case. “We appreciate the coordination and response efforts of all the Coast Guard personnel and units who participated in this case and wish this boater a safe journey and reunification with his family and loved ones.”
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