Coast Guard rescue crews respond to sinking sailing vessel off the eastern coast of the Dominican Republic

The Coast Guard Cutter Kodiak Island and three Dominican Navy vessels conduct a training exercise off the coast of Catuano, Dominican Republic.

Coast Guard Cutter Kodiak Island file photo

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Coast Guard rescue crews responded and assisted two men aboard the 50-foot sailing vessel Oshun that was taking on water and in danger of sinking Monday, approximately 11 nautical miles northeast of Cabo Engaño, Dominican Republic.

The Oshun crew consisted of a 60 and a 56 year-old from the Netherlands Antilles, traveling aboard the Spanish-flagged sailing vessel from Punta Cana, Dominican Republic to Curacao, Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector San Juan received a Mayday call on channel 16 VHF marine radio from one of the Oshun crewmembers, who reported the distress.

“The crew of the Oshun properly notified their distress through the use of channel 16 on their VHF marine radio,” said Lt. Cmdr. Rodrigo Rojas, Sector San Juan chief of law enforcement. “As a result, the crews of the Kodiak Island, Air Station Borinquen and the Dominican Navy coordinated an outstanding response that ensured the safety of the vessel and that of the passengers onboard.”

The crew of an Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen MH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter responded to the scene and located the distressed sailing vessel Monday evening. The helicopter crew deployed their rescue swimmer and a P-1 pump onboard the Oshun to dewater the vessel, that was taking on water at approximately 200 gallons an hour. The crewmembers aboard the Oshun and the Coast Guard rescue swimmer were able to operate the dewatering pump and stabilize the sailing vessel.

The crew of the Kodiak Island also arrived on scene with the Oshun Monday night and began escorting the sailing vessel to La Romana, Dominican Republic. The Kodiak Island deployed a Coast Guard Rescue and Assistance Team aboard the Oshun Tuesday morning, that assessed the vessel’s stability and determined it could continue sailing under escort to La Romana.

A Dominican Republic Navy patrol boat arrived on scene Tuesday morning, relieved the Kodiak Island and safely completed the escort of the Oshun and the crewmembers onboard to La Romana Monday afternoon.

VHF Channel-16 is the international distress marine band frequency for maritime search and rescue.

The Coast Guard Cutter Kodiak Island is a 110-foot patrol boat homeported in Key West, Fla.

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