Fleet Management said its crew onboard managed tanker Silver Muna rescued Americans Kevin Hyde, 65, and Joe Ditomasso, 76 from the sailboat, which had run out of fuel and lost power, disabling radios and navigation equipment.
US Coast Guard cutters, aircraft and US Navy ships were deployed in a large scale search and rescue operation to find the sailboat crew after family remembers reported not hearing from them for many days. Commercial and recreational vessels were also involved in the operation.
“On Tuesday 13 December, the Second Officer, Raul Jr Deocadez, of Hong Kong-flagged Silver Muna spotted the dismasted sailboat on starboard side around two nautical miles away. The Master, Captain Neeraj Chaudhary, then diverted the ship to reach it and led his crew in embarking on a challenging rescue operation,” said Fleet Management.
In 4-5 metres heavy swells, the crew deployed the tanker’s crane with a pallet and safety net to rescue the two men-who hadn’t eaten in five days-with their dog Mim Mim in-hand.
The rescued men were given hearty meals, water and hot showers and spent 26 hours onboard in the care of the crew of Silver Muna until it called its next port, New Jersey.
At a USCG press conference, Ditomasso said: “For this Captain, to find us out there – it was more than a needle in a haystack. This gentleman – the Captain – and his crew were amazing.”
In reflecting on the rescue, Captain Chaudhary said “It was a very emotional moment for me when I saw them reunited with their families. I thank all my crew for their tremendous efforts in the rescue operation and in saving three lives.”
Kishore Rajvanshy, Managing Director of Fleet Management, said: “Captain Neeraj Chaudhary and all crew onboard Silver Muna deserve the highest praise for upholding the maritime tradition of rescuing people in distress.”