USNS Impeccable (T-AGOS 23), a Military Sealift Command (MSC) Impeccable class ocean surveillance vessel manged by Crowley, rescued the 11-man crew of a sinking fishing vessel on July 19.
The distressed trawler had been drifting for five days in the South China Sea when the USNS Impeccable's crew spotted the fishermen waving some 100 nm northwest of Cape Bolinao (Philippines). They had managed to stay atop the wheelhouse of their almost sunken vessel.
Capt. Robert Wiechert, master of Impeccable, headed the ship towards the distress site. All 11 fishermen were transferred in three courses of the RHIB, manned by Chief Mate Wayne Robinson and Able Bodied Seaman Clifford Blackmon.
A few minutes after the last three mariners were rescued, the trawler went completely under the water.
Capt. Wiechert commented:
"This was a true team effort … [with] civilian mariners, security detachment, military detachment and SURTASS (Surveillance Towed Array Sensor System) operations center personnel working together to achieve an efficient rescue of all 11 fishermen. This was a prime example of team work between Crowley and military personnel working towards a common goal."
The fishermen were examined on board the Impeccable and treated for non-life threatening injuries. They were also provided with water, food and clean clothes. On the next day, the 11 were handed over to the Philippine Coast Guard.