NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Coast Guard and Automated Mutual Assistance Vessel Rescue System (AMVER) representatives presented a certification of appreciation to the captain and crew of the merchant vessel K. Coral, Monday, at the Gateway Terminal South Street Pier in New Haven, Connecticut.
The crew of the K. Coral, a ship enrolled in the AMVER System, was recognized for their heroic actions on June 20 resulting in the rescue of 19 crewmembers from a burning fishing vessel 900 miles southeast of Bermuda last week.
When the first officer aboard K. Coral spotted a large cloud of black smoke approximately four miles from the K. Coral’s position, the master altered course and discovered a fishing vessel on fire with people in the water. The K. Coral contacted Rescue Coordination Centre Bermuda and began hoisting the distressed fishermen aboard their vessel. After hoisting 17 survivors aboard K. Coral, two additional survivors on a makeshift raft got separated from the group and drifted away according to the captain.
The K. Coral was joined by Cherry Point, another AMVER enrolled vessel, and continued searching for the two remaining survivors for six hours.
Lookouts on the K. Coral spotted the last two fishermen and hoisted the first to safety, but quickly lost sight of the second person in the heavy rain and darkness. Nearly two hours later, the last survivor was located and brought safely aboard.
According to the K. Coral crew, two survivors suffered third degree burns and were treated in the ship’s hospital. Coast Guard watchstanders at the 5th District Command Center in Portsmouth, Virginia, helped coordinate the launch of an Air Force HC-130J Combat King II aircrew from Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, at approximately 7:45 a.m., Tuesday, to provide medical care to the rescued fisherman aboard the K. Coral. The Air Force rescue crew arrived at the K. Coral’s position at approximately 2 p.m., and deployed seven pararescuemen from the 347th Rescue Group. All seven pararescuemen made it aboard the K. Coral and provided medical care to the fishermen.
The overall search lasted approximately 11 hours and resulted in all 19 crewmembers being safely rescued.
“The K. Coral’s impressive actions and results exemplify the finest traditions of being a professional mariner,” said Coast Guard Capt. E.J. Marohn, chief, 1st Coast Guard District External Affairs.
“In the wake of International Maritime Organization Day of the Seafarer, it’s a distinct pleasure to honor the vessel K. Coral today for not only rescuing 19 seafarers but embarking seven rescue personnel who parachuted to the ship,” said Ben Strong, director of AMVER maritime relations.
AMVER, sponsored by the Coast Guard, is a unique, computer-based, and voluntary global ship reporting system used worldwide by search and rescue authorities to arrange for assistance to people in distress at sea. With AMVER, rescue coordinators can identify participating ships in the area of distress and divert the best-suited ship or ships to respond.
For more information about AMVER please visit http://www.amver.com