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Press Release | May 28, 2024

Coast Guard aircrew aids Sea Falcon cargo vessel taking on water in Caribbean Sea off Puerto Rico

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The aircrew of a Coast Guard MH-60T helicopter assisted the cargo vessel Sea Falcon, Saturday, that was taking on water in the Caribbean Sea, approximately 22 nautical miles south of Puerto Rico.

The Sea Falcon, a Vanuatu-flagged 121-foot offshore supply ship, was transiting to Tortola, British Virgin Islands with four people aboard while transporting two vehicles, construction materials, glass and one container with dry goods.

Coast Guard watchstanders at Sector San Juan received a distress call from the master of the Sea Falcon late Friday night reporting that there was a crack in the vessel’s hull and that the estimated the rate of flooding was approximately 300 gallons per minute. He further relayed that the crew was using dewatering pumps that were not keeping up with flooding in the bilge.

Watchstanders issued an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast to alert nearby vessel traffic of the distress, they directed the launch of a Coast Guard MH-60T Jayhawk helicopter to provide rescue assistance on scene and notified local Puerto Rico Joint Force of Rapid Action marine units of the developing situation.

Shortly thereafter, the Coast Guard helicopter arrived on scene with the Sea Falcon and deployed the aircraft rescue swimmer aboard the vessel to assess the situation.

The rescue swimmer confirmed approximately three inches of water in the engine room due to a three-inch crack in the vessel’s hull. Once the portable dewatering pump was set up, the rescue swimmer confirmed the water level decreased to about two inches.

The aircrew then proceeded to recover their rescue swimmer and return to Air Station Borinquen.  At approximately 11:48 a.m. the Sea Falcon confirmed the vessel’s safe arrival and mooring in Tortola, British, Virgin Islands.

“We are happy to assist the crew of the Sea Falcon, providing them with a dewatering pump to stem the flow of the leak,” said Lt. Travis Cox, Coast Guard MH-60T Jayhawk aircraft commander of the case. “Sector San Juan, Air Station Borinquen and the Sea Falcon crew worked well together and made this case seem routine.”

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