Friday, May 6, 2011

From the archives; German crew rescues 19

Originally printed in the Amver Bulletin 01-92 from Spring 1992.

The German flagged Amver participant Columbus Virginia rescued 19 survivors from two 10-man lifeboats after they abandoned ship in the South Pacific, about 143 miles northeast of Kanton Island.

The 19-man crew, consisting of one Kenyan, one Turk, and 17 Pakistanis, fled the freighter Independencia as the vessel started taking on water and listing heavily to port. The survivors embarked the liferafts with an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB), and a hand held radio.

The U.S. Coast Guard deployed a C-130 from Air Station Barbers Point to coordinate rescue operations the morning following the abandonment. About 17 hours after the crew abandoned the St. Vincent-registered Independencia, the plane located the liferafts. Columbus Virginia, the nearest vessel in the area, was identified and requested to divert to affect the rescue. Roughly three hours later, the Columbus-class ship picked up the survivors and brought them to safety at Honolulu Harbor.

The vintage 459-foot Independencia was reportedly on its last voyage to the scrapyard when it began taking on water. The vessel was traveling from Ecuador to Whampoa, China, and once it started taking on water, attempted to reach safe haven by heading toward Kanton Island.

The Columbus Virginia, a Hamburg-Sudamerikanische Company container ship, has been an Amver participant for 14 years. Amver Bulletin extends a well done to all hands in the air and aboard ship for making this rescue look easy, and continuing a "Safety at Sea" tradition.

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