Monday, 7th June: USNS Patuxent (T-AO-201), Military Sealift Command (MSC) operating the U.S. Naval replenishment oiler fleet, successfully rescued an over-the-hill cargo vessel in the Gulf of Aden.
The watch center of the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operation (UKMTO) informed the USNS Patuxent that the 30-year-old Falcon Line coastal cargo ship (freighter) is re-routing itself due to some malfunctions in the propulsion system and is about to take on water off the coast of Somalia.
The coordinates of the sinking vessel were approached by Patuxent at top speed, and she was able to make her presence before the freighter completely submerged. Soon after reaching the scene of the accident, the oiler shielded the crewmembers of the sunken vessel, making them safely embark on the vessel amidst gusty winds and rough surface conditions. Food, water, and proper medical screening were provided for all 15 survivors.
The Bahrain-based U.S. 5th fleet is in constant contact with the Falcon Line owner and other relevant authorities, to calculate the most precise coordinates to disembark the survivors onshore.
The commander of Task Force (TF) 53, Michael O'Driscoll (Captain, USN), said, "As professional mariners, our forces have to help those in need at sea."
"The sailors and civilian mariners aboard ships like Patuxent have answered this call before, and they will continue to do so whenever possible," added Capt. Michael O'Driscoll.
The Falcon Line is a 3,200 dwt, Gabon-flagged vessel. It was built in 1991 and owned in Qatar. Bandar Abbas conducted her last PSC inspection, identifying 18 deficiencies all over the vessel in 2020. Her deficiencies included major engine issues, errors in the emergency generator, hatch covers, and certification faults.