On the 16th of September 2021, our Oil/Chemical Tanker Navig8 Aragonite was en-route from Brunswick, Georgia to New Orleans via the Straits of Florida. What started as a normal working day for our crew would rapidly develop into a day they would never forget.
A small team were carrying out routine deck maintenance when suddenly an unusual sight caught the attention of one of the team members. A small boat appeared to be in distress, so the sighting was immediately alerted to the attention of the bridge. Captain Sergii Vyshnevskyi, knowing this was a life-or-death situation took the only decision he was prepared to make. He informed his team that the Navig8 Aragonite would be saving lives that day and he then proceeded to immediately initiate a rescue operation.
At 15:16 local time, the ship started to manoeuvre to pick up the distressed people who were clinging to a small, half-deflated rubber boat which was ready to sink. Due to the severity of the situation, Captain Vyshnevskyi decided not to launch the rescue boat and turned the ship around to allow the stream to bring the rubber boat closer to the ship. This manoeuvre worked and the ship was close enough to the rubber boat so the people could use the pilot ladder and safely embark. The Master and crew of the Navig8 Aragonite saved the lives of five men and one woman with no time to spare, as their rubber boat sank shortly after they came on board. They had spent approximately one week stranded at sea and were exhausted. The crew supplied the rescued people with dry and warm clothes, nourishing meals and let them rest to regain their strength.
At 16:00 local time, the ship resumed her passage. In four hours’ time, the rescued people were handed over to the US Coast Guard.
Chief Officer Sergei Ivanov was leading the rescue operation on deck, whilst Second Officer Gatis Bruders maintained communication with the USCG by VHF radio. Due to the excellent communication between the office, the vessel, the US Coast Guard and other authorities, the rescue operation went smoothly and in line with procedures. This is the first trip in rank for Captain Sergii Vyshnevskyi and he and his crew did not hesitate to take on this challenge. At OSM, It is all about people and we could not be any prouder of the exemplary actions taken by the crew of the Navig8 Aragonite and living the OSM values of being Responsible, Always On, Team Builders and Friendly.
In light of these events, OSM Chemical Tanker Management would like to commend the Master and his crew who acted selflessly and professionally in their efforts to save the lives of six people. Their quick actions were prompt, coordinated and demonstrated a clear display of leadership and compassion. During the rescue operation, through their use of best marine practices and seamanship, the crew gained something positive and special that day that will remain with them forever but most importantly, six human lives were saved. We are very proud of all of you and thank you for a job well done!