June 9th 2016

The officers and crew of MAERSK KENTUCKY rescued 11 dehydrated and hungry men from a disabled fishing boat on May 29. The containership diverted from a run to Singapore after receiving a VHF radio distress call from the fishing boat AL YASMEEN, approximately 6 nm away. The fishermen said their boat was taking on water and sinking.

“The vessel was quickly sighted and did appear to be down by the stern,” reported Master John J. O’Boyle. As the KENTUCKY maneuvered closer to observe the extent of the emergency, a dinghy was launched from the distressed boat and the five men inside being paddling toward the containership.

By this time KENTUCKY was stopped and maintaining a position upwind of the fishing vessel.

When it was determined that the fishermen were not armed or threatening, they were allowed to board via the pilot ladder. Three more fishermen then jumped into the water and began swimming toward KENTUCKY. They also boarded via the pilot ladder.

As KENTUCKY continued to drift down on the stricken vessel, it became apparent that AL YASMEEN was indeed taking on water. The remaining three fishermen boarded via the pilot ladder as the vessel lay alongside.

“Once the crew was aboard, they were immediately searched and contained,” the master reported. They were found to be in relatively good health but were very dehydrated and hungry. They said they had been adrift for ten days after losing power, had run out of food six days before and had been without water for four days.

Aboard KENTUCKY, they enjoyed showers, food and gallons and gallons of water before disembarking in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Also aboard KENTUCKY and assisting in the rescue were Chief Mate Brandt R. Hager, Second Mate Dylan E. Carrara and Third Mate James Grigg Wilson. The engineers aboard KENTUCKY are represented by the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association. The unlicensed crewmembers are represented by the Seafarers’ International Union.