Update to the update: Originally it was thought that there were 17 crew members. There are 16. This means that the CG is still looking for two missing. The other 14 have landed safely at Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City. Please continue to pray for the 2 missing, the Coast Guard looking for them and all mariners in this monster storm.
Twitter @Reuters update: “FLASH – 14 of 17 crew members who abandoned HMS Bounty rescued by U.S. coast guard.” Praise the Lord! Please pray for the other three
The three-masted Tall Ship HMS Bounty has abandoned ship. BNO News reports,
“The Coast Guard has received word that the crew of the HMS Bounty has abandoned ship approximately 90 miles southeast of Hatteras N.C., Monday. The 17 person crew donned cold water survival suits and lifejackets before launching in two 25-man lifeboats with canopies. The Coast Guard continues to monitor the situation and assess the weather conditions to determine the soonest Coast Guard aircraft or surface assets can be on scene to conduct effective rescue operations. Coast Guard Sector North Carolina initially received a call from the owner of the 180-foot, three mast tall ship, HMS Bounty, saying she had lost communication with the vessel’s crew late Sunday evening.”
“The Coast Guard 5th District command center in Portsmouth subsequently received a signal from the emergency position indicating radio beacon registered to the Bounty, confirming the distress and position. An air crew from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City launched aboard an HC-130 Hercules aircraft, which later arrived on scene and reestablished communications with the Bounty’s crew. The vessel was reportedly taking on water and was without propulsion. On scene weather is reported to be 40 mph winds and 18-foot seas.”
The Coast Guard also put out a press release, saying much the same thing.
I had mentioned in last night’s blog entry that I had lived aboard a sailboat for two years. I am a mariner. I was living aboard when the 1993 “Storm of the Century” struck, also known as the ’93 Superstorm. This was a storm that reached from Cuba to Halifax. These facts from Wikipedia remind me of the terrible losses we experienced:
“In the United States, the storm was responsible for the loss of electric power to over 10 million customers. It is purported to have been directly experienced by nearly 40 percent of the country’s population at that time. A total of 310 people, including 10 from Cuba, perished during this storm.”
It spawned rain, wind, blizzards and tornadoes. As for us in the Bahamas, I’ll never forget the train-sound of straight line winds that barreled toward us. The dark clouds were scary beyond anything I’d ever experienced up until then. We heard it coming and we saw it coming and though we were in a protected anchorage, it still knocked our 23,000 lb, 40 foot yacht flat on its side like a toothpick. We had three anchors out and the Yanmar diesel running at top speed and we still dragged.
After the initial arrival like a bomb, the storm remained in a high wind pattern for days. By then our anchors were holding and we sustained no damage to our vessel. One boat did sink near the harbor as it attempted to get into port. The people were rescued but the boat was a total loss. So the worst part for us was hearing the distress of other mariners on our radios…and there was nothing we could do to help them.
But Coast Guard did. The brave men and women who flew out into the terrible storm are the ones who have my undying gratitude. We rightly honor the policemen and firemen and transit workers for helping in times of storm and distress. We tend to honor them more often because their bravery and dedication to saving lives is on the television news afterward. The Coast Guard does their work alone, far from land, in the dark, and battling monstrous winds and waves. For the mariner, scared and helpless, far from shore and facing a cold and lonely death, just knowing that the Guard will respond is hope that offers sanity-saving clinging to during the terrible hours of waiting.
As today’s storm approaches, the Coast Guard has elevated the port status along many of the Eastern Seaboard’s ports to Port Condition Yankee. “The U.S. Coast Guard has elevated New York and New Jersey port condition status to Yankee. Large vessels must vacate New York’s ports, and other mariners are cautioned to avoid being on the water. The Coast Guard’s search and rescue operations will be hampered, and they may not be able to provide help until after the storm. Drawbridges will remain closed as wind picks up speed.”
Port Condition Yankee also means “No vessels may enter, transit or remain within this safety zone without the permission of the Captain of the Port.”
So for those mariners who did not seek safe harbor or who were too far from harbor, the ports are now restricted. A port Condition Zulu (closed, period) may be issued later.
Please pray for the mariners, the Coast Guard and the Navy men and women who are out to sea right now.