Monday, January 15, 2007
The tanker ship Cape Bilbao rescued two American sailors 1,300 miles south east of Bermuda after their 41-foot sailboat was damaged by a drifting container. The Sailors, Eugene Meleski, age 74, and his wife Patsy, age 68, were aboard their 41-foot sailboat, Stella Di Mare, when a large piece of debris stuck and sheared off its rudder. Mr. Meleski and his wife attempted to repair the rudder without success and activated their emergency beacon, notifying the U.S. Coast Guard. The Coast Guard diverted the tanker Cape Bilbao, which was 420 miles away, to rescue the stranded sailors. The Marshall Island flagged tanker, under the command of Captain Valerijs Bulankovs, successfully rescued Mr. and Mrs. Meleski. "There were no injuries, but two of my crewmembers had to assist Mrs. Meleski up the 22 foot ladder from the sailboat to our ship," stated Captain Bulankovs.The Cape Bilbao is headed to Fos, France where the Meleski's will be met by U.S. State Department officials for assistance in returning to the United States. The Amver system is a voluntary, worldwide ship reporting system. Prior to sailing, participating ships send a sail plan to the Amver computer center. Vessels then report every 48 hours 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 given day there are over 3,100 ships available to carry out search and rescue services. Visit http://www.amver.com to learn more about this unique worldwide search and rescue system.