SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Napier escorted a tender with five men and a woman onboard to Añasco, Puerto Rico, after the boaters were forced to abandon a motor yacht that caught fire Monday night in the Atlantic Ocean.
Two Australian, a South African and three U.S. citizens, were reportedly traveling from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. to Antigua aboard the Miracle, a 110-foot Jamaican-flagged motor yacht, when a fire broke out onboard that engulfed the vessel in flames, approximately 70 nautical miles north of Mona Island, Puerto Rico.
Watchstanders in Coast Guard Sector San Juan received a MAYDAY call from the Miracle, via VHF-Channel 16 marine radio transmission, reporting a fire onboard and that the passengers were abandoning the vessel to a 32-foot tender the yacht was towing.
Watchstanders diverted a patrolling Coast Guard HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft and the Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Napier to search for the distressed boaters. The Ocean Sentry aircraft located the vessel on fire and the tender with all six passengers safely onboard. The Coast Guard aircrew vectored the Joseph Napier to the tender’s position. Upon arriving on scene with the tender, the crew of the Joseph Napier assessed that all six passengers were in good condition and escorted the tender to Añasco, Puerto Rico, where they were met by Customs and Border Protection officers to coordinate the admission of the boaters to the island.
“This case highlights the importance of communicating distress calls via a VHF marine radio on channel 16,” said Senior Chief Petty Officer Daniel Capestany, Sector San Juan Command Center supervisor. “Our watchstanders received the distress call, identified the position of the vessel and coordinated a response that delivered the boaters to safety.”
The Joseph Napier is a 154-foot Fast Response Cutter homeported in San Juan, Puerto Rico.