On 16th June, a merchant tanker rescued a long-distance rower who had been adrift for three weeks in a life raft in the middle of the South Pacific, far from the nearest shipping lanes.
n particular, on 28th May, New Zealand’s Rescue Coordination Center received word that the ocean rowing boat “Smiles” was in distress at a position in the South Pacific.
RCC New Zealand contacted U.S. Coast Guard 11th District in Alameda, California to ask for assistance with a search.
As explained, after receiving the coordinates for the mariner’s last known position, the U.S. Coast Guard retasked a long-range search aircraft that happened to be in Tahiti to fly north and patrol the area. The HC-130 Hercules aircrew found the rower, who was in a life raft, and dropped three sets of life-saving gear for him, including rations, extra life rafts and comms equipment.
On Friday, June 16, the merchant ship Baker Spirit diverted from its voyage and recovered the mariner safely. The tanker is under way for Oahu, where he will be delivered to shore.
This recent search and rescue operation stands as a testament to the unwavering commitment and remarkable capabilities of our international partners.
…said Petty Officer 1st Class Joshua Birkner, a search and rescue duty officer at Coast Guard District 14.