USS KEARSARGE, At Sea -- Visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) team members from the dock landing ship USS Carter Hall (LSD 50) and the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) provided assistance to a stranded dhow, May 2.
The dhow had 17 passengers aboard, including children, and signaled for help shortly after the two ships completed a replenishment-at-sea. "It's an unwritten law of the sea to render aide to fellow sailors," said Capt. Brad Skillman, commander, Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group. "The only debate with something like this is how to do it safely. We never know what we're going to encounter when we board another ship, but ignoring stranded mariners at sea is never an option." Carter Hall's VBSS team assessed the situation and immediately provided assistance. "We have an outstanding VBSS team that provided water and batteries to the stranded vessel," said Carter Hall Commanding Officer Cmdr. Greg Blyden. "This was a task that we responded to very quickly during challenging conditions. Overall our team did a very good job of searching the vessel and providing assistance."
Carter Hall also provided engineering assistance to get the dhow underway. After several hours, the dhow was able to get underway under its own power. Navy VBSS teams are prepared to board and inspect vessels of interest. Their primary mission is counter-piracy and counter-terrorism operations and the prevention illicit cargo smuggling. Kearsarge is the flagship of the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group, which includes Carter Hall and the amphibious transport dock ship USS San Antonio (LPD 17), and, with the embarked Marines from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, is deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet Area of Responsibility (AOR).