The M/V Island Express, a Cyprus flagged 412-foot Roll On-Roll Off cargo ship, and its 18-man crew is now safely moored in San Juan Harbor.
US Coast Guard watchstanders in Sector San Juan received a Mayday VHF radio transmission on Channel 16 from the Captain of the M/V Island Express, who reported that there was a possible broken pipe in the engine room and that approximately 75% of the bilges were full of water.
Watchstanders directed the launch of two 33-foot small boats and a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium from Coast Guard Boat Station San Juan that got underway and arrived on scene with the M/V Island Express.
A US Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen MH-65 Dolphin helicopter also arrived on scene, and the aircrew was able to maintain communications with the Coast Guard boat crews as they escorted the cargo ship in eight to 10 foot seas back to the safety of the port.
Meanwhile, Sector San Juan Prevention personnel coordinated with the San Juan Bay Pilots and two Puerto Rico Towing tugboats that met with the M/V Island Express at the entrance of San Juan Harbor. The tugboats escorted the M/V Island Express to Pier 15, where the vessel safely moored and the crew was able to finalize dewatering of the bilge spaces.
The teamwork and training of Station operators allowed these evolutions to safely take place simultaneously which led to all three assets arriving on scene with the distressed vessel within 45 minutes. The sea conditions on scene were pushing the parameters of the small boats but the crews endured and the distressed vessel was escorted safety into the harbor
stated Senior Chief Petty Officer Lance Wiser, Station San Juan officer in charge.