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USS Ashland Assists Distressed Mariners in Pacific Ocean

By http://www.navy.mil last modified Nov 02, 2017 09:40 PM
PACIFIC OCEAN (NNS) -- The Sasebo-based amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48) rendered assistance to two distressed mariners, Oct. 25, whose sailboat had strayed well off its original course.

Published: 2017-10-26 00:00:00
Topics: Safety and Medical , Pacific Crossing
Countries: Hawaii

USS Ashland Assists Distressed Mariners in Pacific Ocean

Photo from http://www.navy.mil

As reported by http://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=103056

The mariners, Jennifer Appel and Tasha Fuiava, both from Honolulu, and their two dogs had set sail from Hawaii to Tahiti this spring. They had an engine casualty May 30 during bad weather but continued on, believing they could make it to land by sail.

Two months into their journey and long past when they originally estimated they would reach Tahiti, they began to issue distress calls. The two continued the calls daily, but they were not close enough to other vessels or shore stations to receive them.

On Oct. 24, they were discovered 900 miles southeast of Japan by a Taiwanese fishing vessel. The fishing vessel contacted Coast Guard Sector Guam who then coordinated with Taipei Rescue Coordination Center, the Japan Coordination Center, and the Joint Coordination Center in Honolulu to render assistance.

Operating near the area on a routine deployment, Ashland made best speed to the location of the vessel in the early morning on Oct. 25 and arrived on scene at 10:30 a.m that morning. After assessing the sailboat unseaworthy, Ashland crew members brought the distressed mariners and their two dogs aboard the ship at 1:18 p.m.

"I'm grateful for their service to our country. They saved our lives. The pride and smiles we had when we saw [U.S. Navy] on the horizon was pure relief," said Appel.

Appel said they survived the situation by bringing water purifiers and over a year's worth of food on board, primarily in the form of dry goods such as oatmeal, pasta and rice.

Once on Ashland, the mariners were provided with medical assessments, food and berthing arrangements. The mariners will remain on board until Ashland's next port of call.

"The U.S. Navy is postured to assist any distressed mariner of any nationality during any type of situation," said Cmdr. Steven Wasson, Ashland commanding officer.

Part of U.S. 7th Fleet's forward deployed naval forces out of Sasebo, Japan, Ashland has been on a routine deployment for the past five months as a ready-response asset for any of contingency.

Mariners Rescued by USS Ashland Speak

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Roberto Sonnenberger
Roberto Sonnenberger says:
Nov 01, 2017 06:05 PM

I wonder why the vessel was classified as "unseaworthy"? Is there a report available?

Leasure17Owner
Leasure17Owner says:
Oct 30, 2017 05:39 PM

With a mast still standing and over 6 months of food - how come they can't juryrig and reach land?

I would at least try, instead of waiting around ro be rescued at public expense.

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