Twelve Rescued After Abandoning Ship North of Haiti During Hurricane Joaquin

Mike Schuler
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October 2, 2015

NOAA’s GOES-East satellite captured this visible image of Hurricane Joaquin affecting the Bahamas on Oct. 1 at 1255 UTC. Credits: NASA/NOAA GOES Project


Note: This story is unrelated to the missing TOTE Maritime ship El Faro, which was reported missing off the Bahamas during Hurricane Joaquin on Thursday. A search and rescue for the El Faro and its crew was still underway as of Friday at 1:30 p.m. EDT.

The U.S. Coast Guard said it rescued 12 crewmembers forced to abandon their sinking 212-foot cargo ship beset by heavy weather from Hurricane Joaquin Thursday evening after the vessel reportedly began taking on water and listing 51 nautical miles northwest of Haiti.

Coast Guard watchstanders were relayed a message on Thursday from Her Majesty’s Coast Guard saying that they received an Inmarsat satellite message stating the Bolivian-flagged cargo ship Minouche was listing 30 degrees to port and all 12 crewmembers aboard were making preperations to abandon ship.

The U.S. Coast Guard diverted the USCGC Northland and a helicopter crew to the ship’s last known position, as well as a good Samaritan vessel participating in Automated Mutual Assistance Vessel Rescue System (AMVER).

At approximately 10:30 p.m. on Thursday, the AMVER-participating ship arrived on scene and located all 12 mariners aboard a liferaft. The Coast Guard rescue helicopter eventually arrived on scene and hoisted the survivors, transporting them to Great Inagua in the Bahamas with no major medical concerns.

“This case is a perfect example of how important our partner agencies are when it comes to assisting in search and rescue efforts,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Joseph Medina, command duty officer for the Coast Guard 7th District Command Center. “The coordinated efforts between our Coast Guard crews and the AMVER crew allowed us to locate the individuals prior to the situation getting worse with weather still rampant from Hurricane Joaquins’ wake.”

The rescue comes as a search and rescue is underway Friday for a missing American ship with 33 crew members that was reported to be caught in Hurricane Joaquin, near Crooked Island, Bahamas on Thursday. The ship, TOTE Maritime’s El Faro was reportedly without propulsion and listing 15 degrees on Thursday, but communication has since bee lost. 

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