Small vessel with engine problems

Sunday September 8th 2013 – Around 11 am Sea Rescue volunteers were called in regards to a small vessel with mechanical/engine problems somewhere between St Maarten and St Barths. Rescue deployed with a crew of four trying to locate the vessel. St Maarten Coast Guard also deployed and they found the vessel some 10 miles from Great Bay and started towing her back in. The Rescue took over the tow and docked the vessel with the two persons on board in Great Bay. The 21ft vessel was underway to St Kitts from St Maarten with two persons on board but with no communication or navigation on board at all. They were luck enough to be able to call the St Maarten Police department with a cell phone. The search was difficult because the GPS coordinates taken from a mobile phone were somewhat off and spotting a small boat that is low on the water is not an easy task. Thanks to the effort of the St Maarten Coast Guard and the St Maarten Sea Rescue Foundation the boat and its crew was eventually safely back on St Maarten. Once again an example that shows the importance of the simple investment in a VHF radio and an actual GPS unit (and it may be a very wise idea not to travel between islands with only one engine). The rescue crew was back at base around 3.45pm.
Crew: Frans, Mario, Erik and Serge.

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Fishing vessel with engine problems

And another rescue job for the volunteers of the St Maarten Sea Rescue Foundation. Saturday morning, July 20th around 7.15 a call was received that a fishing vessel, the Amalia II, had engine problems. She was located not far from St Maarten, about two miles from Plum Point. Rescue 01 was deployed with a crew of three to locate the vessel and assist with the journey. She was quickly found and a tow was started to Simpson Bay where the vessel was anchored for repairs. After some coffee (thanks Heather Tackling-Court for the coffee!!) at the Yachtclub Rescue 01 was back at base in time for the weekly Saturday afternoon get together.

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Ship with technical problems

Wednesday July 17th 2013 – around lunch time a call was received that a Tall Ship with about 20 passengers ran into technical problems and was in need of assistance. Rescue 01 was deployed with a voluntary crew of two and towed the ship back to their dock. The tall ship was on anchor in Little Bay and there was no danger to the passengers and/or crew.

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Capsized vessel in Anguilla Channel

Sunday June 30 23:42pm. St Maarten Sea Rescue Foundation received a call about a capsized vessel with 11 people in the water. Rescue 01 was quickly deployed and with a voluntary crew of three rushed to the scene some 6 miles off shore in the Anguilla Channel. On arrival the half submersed vessel was, despite the darkness, quickly found and a search for survivors commenced. A tug boat that was in already in the area picked up some survivors and Rescue 01 together with the French SNS129 started the search for more. In later became clear that some 20 people had been on the boat when it went under making the operation more difficult. In the joined Search and Rescue effort with Rescue 01, SNS129, Dutch side Coastguard, the tug boat the total stood at 12 survivors and three bodies picked up from the water before the sun came up. After bringing the survivors and the bodies to the Marigot shore to be handed over to the Gendarmerie the search continued at daybreak but unfortunately yielded no further results. The MRCC Fort de France, the organization in charge of the SAR mission, ordered a helicopter to join the effort and the Rescue 01 and SNS129 were sent back to their base. The status of the last five missing persons is unclear at this moment, but since the area was searched thoroughly by multiple boats changes of finding more survivors appear to be very slim. The name of the vessel and its homeport are not known at this time nor is the itinerary of their journey very clear but they were probably on their way from Anquilla to St Maarten. What exactly transpired in this incident is not very clear, but according to a survivor they did hear a bang and after that the boat started making water quickly. The survivors and bodies found had no life jackets on. Rescue 01 was back at base in Philipsburg at 9.30am on July 1st 2013. Crew: Frans, Mario and Serge.

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Missing person in Great Bay

Unfortunately not all calls for a Rescue have a happy ending. Rescue volunteers on Rescue 01 searched for a missing person in Philipsburg/Great Bay together with Coast Guard, Police and Ambulance staff. The person was found by divers on the bottom of the murky waters of Great Bay and unfortunately did not survive his fall in the water.
http://www.sxmislandtime.com/front-page-headliners/23808-homeless-man-richard-believed-to-have-drowned-after-seizure-on-pier.html

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Sinking sailing vessel

Wednesday June 26 2013 – St Maarten Sea Rescue volunteers were called to the scene of a sinking sailing vessel. The family of three was saved by the rescue crew but their sailboat, their home, sank in the deep waters of St Maarten. See newspaper article the The Daily Herald.

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EPIRB going off

Philipsburg March 25th 2013 – Rescue 1 was deployed with a crew of 4 to start a search for cargo vessel Karma. Apparently an EPIRB went off registered under their name and Rescue 1 quickly deployed and searched for the vessel. Eventually the rescue crew was able to contact the captain of the Karma by phone that was safely docked in St Kitts without any problems on their EPIRB. Rescue 1 continued the search to find the source of the EPIRB signal but eventually went back to base. Another vessel was at the EPIRB location and their captain showed the Rescue crew an EPIRB that was not activated. Strange story. For those who do not know – an EPIRB is an Emergency Position Indication Radio Beacon that send an approximate location of a vessel in distress and are usually automatically activated when they hit water.

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Sailing vessel in trouble

Happy Newyear – the first rescue mission for 2013!
Rescue volunteers were called in at 12:30pm January 1st 2013 to assist a 47ft sailing vessel in trouble between St Maarten and St Barths. The USA registered vessel lost her rudder and was in need of assistance with 4 persons on board. Another sailing vessel tried to tow but broke the lines. Rescue 02 responded and found the vessel some 6 miles out of Great Bay. A tow was started and after some setbacks (towing lines under the keel of the sailing vessel, slipping bridle on the sailing vessel) the tow could eventually continue. With heavy swells and a vessel without rudder, the towing speed could not exceed 2.5 knots because the sailing vessel was going left and right but never straight. Eventually the Rescue 02 arrived in Great Bay where the sailing vessel was put on a dock at Bobby’s Marina. Another success for St Maarten Sea Rescue and their voluntary crew.

Rescue crew: Frans (captain), Thierry Personne (towing chief) and Serge Bakker (communications) and thanks Marco de Hooge for your assistance on shore.

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Boat ran aground

Simpson Bay – Wednesday November 14th – SSRF members were called to assist sailing vessel Off Line around 1:15am. Information was somewhat “sketchy” but it was learned that she was somewhere in Simpson Bay and probably ran aground. A ground crew started a search along the bay and quickly found the boat, while Rescue 02 was deployed from Philipsburg to offer assistance. The vessel ran aground on Simpson Bay beach, between Karakter Beach and Beacon Hill. Her stern was already in the sand and her keel was nicely digging into the sand while the crew was trying to salvage what they could. Rescue 02 arrived shortly to try and tow Off Line free from her quite nasty location. She vessel was rolling from side to side. At the first try the towing line gave in and snapped with a loud bang, but a second try was successful. Off Line was making water and the decision was made to tow her to Bobbys Marina to be lifted out of the water. The ground crew, still on Simpson Bay beach followed later by car after dragging all the salvaged bags and materials to the car. Off Line is now safely on shore and the crew was very happy with the

quick and professional response from the volunteers of the St Maarten Sea Rescue Foundation – the same volunteers that went home around 4.30am. The vessel sustained damage to the rudder, the prop, the keel and maybe more.
Crew Rescue 02: Frans (c), Mario, Marco de Hooge
Ground crew: Serge Bakker

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Fishing vessel in distress

From Inside Rescue 02 – A fishing vessel was in distress between St Maarten and Saba. Rescue 02 was already in at sea for practice and set sail for the approximate location. There was no contact with the boat but information reached Rescue 02 that she was making water. The vessel was found some 17 miles of St Maarten by another fishing vessel and Rescue 02 tool over the tow. One more hour of towing to go….

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