SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Coast Guard rescue crews combined efforts with the 419-foot St. Vincent and Grenadines flag bulk carrier Sabina A, to rescue four men aboard a disabled and adrift boat Monday, approximately 135 nautical miles south of Puerto Rico.
Rescued are St. Vincent and the Grenadines nationals Maxwin Alexander, 40; Justin Frazar, 33; Mearoy Raboy, 24; and Carl Taul, 45, who reportedly were adrift for 12 days in the Caribbean Sea after their 30-foot motor boat suffered an engine casualty.
The boaters were transiting from St Vincent and Grenadines Union Island on a supply run to the island of St. Vincent when the engine casualty took place.
“The great coordination between the mariners of the Sabina A and international rescue coordination center and Coast Guard watchstanders, along with the swift response of Coast Guard rescue crews saved four lives from the perils of the sea,” said Capt. Drew W. Pearson, Sector San Juan commander. "This case highlights the importance of having the proper VHF marine radio communications and Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon onboard before going out to sea."
Coast Guard Sector San Juan communication watchstanders were contacted by the Fort de France Maritime Coordination Rescue Center at 2p.m. Sunday and relayed an INMARSAT C satellite communication from the crew of the Sabina A, who were on-scene with the distressed boaters.
Coast Guard watchstanders immediately coordinated the launch of a Coast Guard HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft from Air Station Miami to assess the situation and diverted the Coast Guard Cutter Farallon to provide rescue assistance.
The crew of the HC-144 Ocean Sentry arrived on scene with the distressed boaters at approximately 5:30 p.m. Sunday and dropped a VHF marine radio to establish communications, which the boaters recovered from the water and used to confirm they were all safe. The Sabina A maintained watch over the boaters until the arrival of the Farallon at approximately 1:30 a.m. Monday. The crew of the Farallon embarked all four boaters, who appeared to be in good health, and provided them with clean clothes, food and blankets.
“The sea conditions definitely made this a difficult rescue, but the crew did not flinch and performed exceptionally,” said Lt. Nolan V. Cain, Coast Guard Cutter Farallon commanding officer. “Knowing that the persons onboard the distressed vessel had been adrift for two weeks, the crew made sure they had clean clothes, blankets and a hot meal. We all thought, if we were in their shoes, that's how we'd want to be treated.”
The crew of the Farallon took the distressed vessel in tow and is transporting the rescued boaters to Puerto Rico.