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Coast Guard coordinates rescue of solo sailor 700 miles east of Cape Cod in-20-ft seas

Automated Mutual-Assistant Vessel Rescue System utilized rescues of 34-foot Canadian sailboat Easy Go
37-foot Easy Go sailor rescued with AMVER rescue coordinators which can identify participating ships in the area of distress and divert the best-suited ship or ships to respond. USCG photo.

34-foot Canadian sailboat Easy Go rescued by Athina L

Automated Mutual-Assistant Vessel Rescue System rescue of solo sailor

The Coast Guard coordinated a good Samaritan crews rescue of a sailor approximately 700 miles east of Cape Cod, Mass., at approximately 5 a.m. Tuesday.

Watchstanders from the 1st Coast Guard District command center in Boston were notified at approximately 8 a.m. Monday of a commercial emergency beacon signal registered to the 34-foot Canadian flagged sailing vessel Easy Go.

A Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, Md., HC-130 Hercules aircraft crew immediately launched to locate the Easy Go.

The district command center watchstanders also contacted available vessels in the area to assist. Crews from the 652-foot motor vessel Bishu Highway and the 751-foot long motor vessel Athina L were able to assist.

The Bishu Highway arrived on scene at approximately 2:45 p.m. Monday, and established communications with the Easy Go. The only sailor on board reported that he was uninjured, but the boat had lost its main sail and he was unable to make way. The Bishu Highway was unable to rescue the sailor due to a 50-foot height of the hull above water, but was able to stay on scene until the Athina L could assist.

The Athina L arrived on scene at approximately 5 a.m. Tuesday, and safely rescued the sailor.

There were no injuries reported, and the sailor will continue to the Athina L's next port of call of Hunterston, U.K.

The Athina L is a participant in the Automated Mutual-Assistant Vessel Rescue System, which is sponsored by the U.S. Coast Guard and is a unique, computer-based, and voluntary global ship reporting system used worldwide by search and rescue authorities to arrange for assistance to persons in distress at sea.

"This rescue demonstrates the power of partnerships," said Ben Strong, director of AMVER Maritime Relations. "The Coast Guard and the commercial shipping industry work together to ensure no call for help goes unanswered. We're proud of the crew of the Athina L and encourage all shipping companies to participate in AMVER."

With AMVER, rescue coordinators can identify participating ships in the area of distress and divert the best-suited ship or ships to respond. AMVER vessels send periodic position reports to the AMVER center until arriving at their port of call. This data is able to project the position of each ship at any point during its voyage. In an emergency, any rescue coordination center can request this data to determine the relative position of AMVER ships near the distress location. On any day there are more than 5,000 ships available to carry out search and rescue services. AMVER vessels also allow a greater reach for search-and-rescue missions further out to sea and it saves resources, time and money of the Coast Guard when they assist.

Weather on scene was 15-to-20-foot seas with 40-knot winds.

The 1st Coast Guard District covers from New Jersey to Canada with search and rescue duties extending approximately 1,300 miles from shore. Units across the Northeast conduct more than 2,500 search and rescue cases in a year, and rescue more than 300 people.

The Athena L is a Liberian-flagged bulk carrier and has been enrolled in AMVER since Oct. 14, 2011.

► See previous USCG stories here.

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