Maersk Line vessels have been awarded with Mariners’ Plaques for their rescue efforts at sea. Crew of the container ship Maersk Utah and the oceanographic survey ship USNS Bowditch attended at the Admiral of the Ocean Seas evening on 2 weeks ago in New York. This event is highly respected and is an important fundraiser for United Seamen’s Service (USS) working with seafarer welfare centers in ports worldwide.
Crew of the Maersk Utah have been given an award for their actions in a rescue operation of of 83 Syrian refugees. There was an incident with small boat on August 9, this year with Syrian migrants. Maersk Utah was 70 nautical miles and received their distress call. The large 300-meter-long ship had to reach the location of the migrants with high speed before the dark part of the day.
Captain Sienel said:
"The Maersk Utah approached the craft and stopped alongside at 20:33. At this time it became clear that the boat, approximately 15 meters long, was carrying many people of various ages, gender and physical condition."
Maersk Utah positioned in a such a way to protect the small overloaded boat with migrants from the big waves and strong winds while waiting the Italian Coast Guard to come with the proper equipment and trained personnel.
The Maersk's vessel was near the boat the whole time while the rescue operation managed by the Italian Coast Guard was finished. A Coast Guard vessel arrived at the location of the incident 5 hours later after the Maersk Utah but did not have chance to begin the rescue operation because of its small size. The ship together with the migrants boat had to stay in shelter near the Maersk operated ship until a larger Italian rescue vessel comes. 7 hours after the arrival of Maersk Utah to the location of the migrants boat a large Italian Coast Guard ship came to conduct a successful rescue operation, then Maersk Utah was able to continue to Algeciras, Spain.
The 2nd AOTOS Mariners’ Plaque was for the crew of USNS Bowditch for saving a U.S. Navy ship in the Philippines. The USS Guardian was stuck on Tubbahata Reef, Philippines. Despite the bad weather conditions and the danger from the reef Bowditch had to rescue the crew of the grounded minesweeper USS Guardian using its precise sonar to come near the vessel.