Boat crew to arrive today
By Curtis Lum
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Curtis Lum
Four people who abandoned a damaged sailboat north of the Big Island yesterday were expected to arrive in Honolulu sometime today.
The crew of the 40-foot Mureadrittas XL abandoned the vessel at about 9 a.m. yesterday after it apparently collided with whales. The Mureadrittas was about 450 miles north of the Big Island at the time.
The master of the vessel notified the Coast Guard at about 9:45 a.m. that everyone was safe and in a life raft. But the Mureadrittas was badly damaged and eventually sank.
A Coast Guard C-130 was sent to fly over the life raft and monitor the situation. But with no Coast Guard vessels in the area, Coast Guard officials put out a plea to vessels in the area to come to the aid of the crew.
The cargo vessel Maersk Darwin, which was on its way to China, was about 90 miles away and changed its course to help out, said Coast Guard Petty Office Michael De Nyse. The Maersk Darwin reached the four crew members last night and was scheduled to transfer them to the Cammie M, which was headed to O'ahu.
De Nyse said the Coast Guard appreciated the efforts of the "Good Samaritan" vessels. He also praised the crew of the Mureadrittas for having the appropriate gear for an emergency situation. The vessel was on its way to Hawa'i from Los Angeles, he said.
"The crew members had safety gear on board. They had their life raft. They had food and water. They had a meridian phone and they were located by EPIRB (emergency position indicating radio beacon)," De Nyse said. "That just goes to show that good planning and having the proper safety gear aids you greatly in being rescued."
Reach Curtis Lum at firstname.lastname@example.org.