The solidarity and quick thinking of seafarers often make the difference between life and death. Such was the case on September 22, 2023, with the crew of MV Sheila Ann, which, amid challenging weather conditions, responded to a distress call off the U.S. East Coast and carried out a successful rescue operation of an Australian sailor stranded in tumultuous waters.
At 20:28 local time, MV Sheila Ann picked up a DCS distress signal from a position about 7 miles away from the ship. The crew immediately attempted to establish communication with the vessel in distress, but there was no response. Despite the lack of direct communication, the Captain Denys Symonov made the swift and critical decision to reroute and approach the distress location.
By 21:07 local time, the crew spotted a small sailing yacht. Immediately, preparations were underway for a Man Overboard (MOB) situation. As the ship drew closer by 21:32, the yacht maneuvered under engine power. A heaving line was promptly dispatched, securing the yacht alongside MV Sheila Ann, allowing for the safe retrieval of its sole occupant—an Australian sailor.
Merely two minutes after the rescue, at 21:34 local time, the yacht was released and MV Sheila Ann adjusted its bearings back towards its original destination. By 21:49, the vessel was back on course, with an additional passenger aboard.
The rescued sailor was provided with a cabin, fresh clothing, and food. He was safely disembarked at MV Sheila Ann’s next port of call.
Photo: The distressed yacht alongside MV Sheila Ann