Monday, February 23, 2009

CNN Gets it Wrong

Today, CNN posted a story about a British couple who had to be rescued in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. It's a common enough story but CNN had this line that causes me to write this entry;
Armstrong alerted the U.S. Coast Guard of their problems. However, the Coast Guard told the couple they were too far out to be rescued.

That's hooey! This is what I believe happened. The sailors contacted the Coast Guard to report their situation. When their position was plotted, the Coast Guard realized that they were well out to sea. At that point, the only option for the sailors is to be removed from their boat by another vessel. When they realized that they'd have to leave their boat behind, they decided to wait it out or arrange for a towing vessel. The bill for a tow boat to come that far out probably exceeds the value of the sailboat.

Finally, when the reality of their situation sunk in, they called the Coast Guard and said they'd like to get off. At that point, an AMVER vessel was most likely diverted to take the crew to safety.

The US Coast Guard is responsible for Search and Rescue in a chunk of the Atlantic that extends out to 040 Degrees Longitude. The area is over 4 million square nautical miles. No matter where you are in that chunk of water, the CG will make every effort to assist you.


Amver Maritime Relations said...

Brown Hound,

Your assessment of the situation, while colorful, is correct. The search and rescue controllers working the case were in constant contact with the crew of the sailboat Sara and, withing seven hours of their request to come off the boat, had an Amver vessel on scene embarking them. You can read more at

javier said...
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Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Interesting tidbit. I've only been sailing a few times - would the CG have towed them in if they were closer? If the CG does the towing, do they still get billed, or is it that the CG would contact someone to tow them who would bill them?

John said...


Yes, the CG would have towed them in if they were much closer. There are mechanisms to have mariner's reimburse the CG but I've only seen that happen in the case of hoaxes.

The CG can contact a commercial salvage company on behalf of the mariner as well.