SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Coast Guard crews in combined efforts with the crew of the cargo vessel Megalodon rescued a sailor aboard a life raft Friday, approximately 420 nautical miles northeast of Puerto Rico.
Cedric George Barriere, a 41-year-old French citizen, was forced to abandon the French-flagged sailing vessel Tepacap, after the vessel reportedly capsized and started to sink.
“We are pleased that Mr. Barriere was rescued after abandoning his boat into a life raft,” Lt. Matthew S. Baker, Coast Guard Sector San Juan command duty officer. “This case is a good example of the effectiveness of modern survival equipment, including a properly registered 406 megahertz EPIRB and a satellite phone. We are also grateful to the Megalodon for their willingness to divert from their voyage and rescue Mr. Barriere and for the joint communication between them, our command center and our HU-25 Falcon crew.”
Barriere was able to board his life raft with food, water, a satellite phone, a handheld Global Positioning System device, and a 406MHz-Emergency Positioning Indicating Radio Beacon (EPRIRB). The sailor communicated his distress by activating his 406MHz-EPIRB and calling back to France using his satellite phone.
Coast Guard watchstanders in Sector San Juan received notification at 8 a.m. Friday from a French Rescue Coordination Center watchstander in Martinque, who reported to the Coast Guard that the French-flagged sailing vessel had sunk approximately 420 nautical miles east of Puerto Rico.
Coast Guard watchstanders immediately launched an HU-25 Falcon Jet from Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen to search for the distressed sailor. They also conducted an Automated Mutual Assistance Vessel Rescue (AMVER) callout to identify and notify vessels transiting in the vicinity of the distress.
The Megalodon, a Marshall Islands flag, 864-foot bulk carrier, was transiting from Colombia to Israel to deliver their cargo when they received the AMVER callout and the Coast Guard’s request for assistance. The master of the Megalodon responded and diverted to the scene to rescue the distressed sailor.
The crew of the HU-25 Falcon Jet was able to home in on Barriere’s 406MHz-EPIRB and locate him safely aboard his life raft. The Falcon crew dropped Barriere an additional radio, food and water.
With the assistance of the Coast Guard aircraft, the Megalodon located the raft at 10p.m. Friday and rescued Mr. Barriere, who was found to be in good health but very tired.
The Megalodon will continue on to its next scheduled port of call in Israel and will make arrangements along the way for Barriere to be transferred to French authorities.
The crew and the HU-25 Falcon Jet that located Barriere is currently deployed from Coast Guard Air Sation Corpus Christi in Texas to Air Station Borinquen in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, providing search and rescue and law enforcement support to Sector San Juan’s area of responsibility.
AMVER, sponsored by the United States 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 persons 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.
AMVER’s mission is to quickly provide search and rescue authorities, on-demand, accurate information on the positions and characteristics of vessels near a reported distress.