A Greek oil tanker participating in the Amver system was contacted by a United States Coast Guard long range surveillance aircraft and diverted to rescue seven Ecuadorian fishermen after their boat sank 170 miles off the Columbia Ecuador coast June 5, 2009.
The tanker Andes, en route to Esmeraldas to load product, was notified by a United States Coast Guard aircraft on a routine patrol that the fishermen were in distress. The master of the Andes quickly mustered the crew and turned his ship in the direction of the sinking fishing boat.
The Coast Guard aircraft dropped life rafts and survival equipment to the seven fishermen as the Andes headed to their rescue.
Within two hours of being notified, crewmen on the Greek flagged tanker, managed by the Tsakos Group, observed flashing lights near the distress position. As darkness fell, the Coast Guard aircraft continued to circle over the survivors and direct the tanker to their location
The master of the Andes maneuvered the tanker alongside the life rafts and the crew began rescue operations. According to the Andes master “Because of the high freeboard and the elderly crew in the lifeboats we readied a rescue boat to launch if the last attempt was unsuccessful.” The last survivors, with the help of additional Andes crewmen, were able to make the transfer between the life raft and the tanker.
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Photo credit: The crew of the Andes and Tsakos Group