Coast Guard coordinates AMVER vessel’s high-seas rescue

5th Coast Guard District NewsPORTSMOUTH, Va. — Watchstanders at the Coast Guard 5th District command center coordinated a rescue approximately 400 miles northeast of Bermuda with the assistance of a German flagged container ship, Friday night.

At approximately 6:30 p.m., the watchstanders received a notification from a member of the National Maritime and Aeronautical Rescue Coordination Centre in Den Helder, Netherlands, stating that there were four people aboard the sailing vessel Outer Limits in need of assistance.

The reporting source said that the crew stated that they had struck a whale and were quickly taking on water.

The watchstanders sent out an enhanced group call then using AMVER, the Automated mutual-assistance vessel rescue system, they asked the captain of the E R Melbourne to assist the sailors in distress.

The crew of the E R Melbourne traveled approximately 35 miles and arrived on scene at 8 p.m.

“It’s reassuring to see recreational mariners take the necessary precautions, such as having an EPIRB, long range communication capabilities and other safety equipment, to ensure a timely response in the case of an emergency such as this,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Cullen Rafferty, a Coast Guard 5th District watchstander. “Because of these necessary precautions, a multi agency response was able to be coordinated and a tragedy averted.”

The crew of the Outer Limits was in a race from the Bahamas to the archipelago of the Azores, Portugal.

“The response of the AMVER vessel E R Melbourne displayed the true nature of the mariner to help those in need,” said Rafferty.

The crew aboard the E R Melbourne is en route to Italy.


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