MV Sheila Ann Crew Assists Stranded Sailboat in Rough Seas

Jun 7


On April 24, 2024, the crew of MV Sheila Ann received a mayday call from a sailboat stranded 16 nautical miles away in rough seas and strong winds, on the East Coast of the United States. Captain Cep and his crew relayed the distress call to the US Coast Guard. However, due to adverse weather conditions and the location being 250 nautical miles from land, the Coast Guard could not immediately assist.

When MV Sheila Ann arrived at the scene, the sailboat was intact with all crew accounted for, but had lost steerage. It was decided that the sailboat crew would remain on board while the MV Sheila Ann crew began towing operations, securing a tow line to the sailboat’s main mast. Initially, conditions allowed for safe towing, but worsening weather with 5-6 meter seas caused difficulties.

After considering releasing the tow line, the crews of both vessels attempted to stabilize the sailboat with a line on the bow sprit, which eventually came loose, leading to the release of the main tow rope. Following advice from the Coast Guard, MV Sheila Ann sheltered the sailboat, allowing it to steer using minimum speed and its emergency system. The sailboat remained on the leeward side of MV Sheila Ann until the Coast Guard could take over the rescue operation.

Captain Cep and his crew relayed all communications until the sailboat reached coastal VHF radio range and could contact the Coast Guard directly. The Coast Guard then ensured the safety of the sailboat’s seven crew members. MV Sheila Ann resumed its scheduled voyage, after successfully assisting in the rescue operation.

Captain Cep and his crew demonstrated excellent ship handling and upheld the customary law of the sea by aiding a vessel in distress. Their actions were truly exemplary, demonstrating exceptional skill and dedication, and we commend them for their outstanding efforts.

This is the second time in 12 months that the crew of MV Sheila Ann has been involved in the rescue of a sailboat.