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19.01.2006 General News

U.S. Navy Sailors Rescue Stranded Ghanaian Crew

By Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State.

After 35 days adrift, crew is found 100 miles off coast of Sierra Leone Sailors from the USS Carr and USS Mount Whitney, forward deployed to Gaeta, Italy, in support of the War on Terror, rescued a crew of six from Ghana while on patrol 100 miles off of the Sierra Leone coast.

According to the U.S. European Command (EUCOM), the crew had been adrift at sea for 35 days with a dead motor and no provisions left on board.

U.S. Navy Captain Tom Rowden said he was “extremely proud” of the work performed by the sailors involved. “This is exactly why we're out here. In the time I've spent in this region I've seen thousands of these small ships, which are very common. Had the lookouts not spotted this boat and had we not rendered it aid, the six men onboard would have been in grave danger,” he added.

Following is the EUCOM's press release:

(begin text) United States Navy Headquarters U.S. European Command (EUCOM) January 17, 2006 SAILORS AID STRANDED CREW

USS MOUNT WHITNEY, Atlantic Ocean — Sailors from USS Carr (FFG 52) provided humanitarian assistance Jan. 14 to a small vessel in distress about 100 miles off the coast of Sierra Leone.

The vessel, a small craft with a crew of six from Ghana, had been at sea for 35 days and had a dead motor with no provisions left onboard.

The USS Mount Whitney and USS Carr were steaming south when two lookouts from Mount Whitney spotted crewmembers on the small craft waving and signaling for help.

The task force commander dispatched the Carr to take a closer look. It steamed alongside the vessel and began to provide assistance.

Using inflatable boats, Sailors were able to board the vessel and assess needed aid. The Carr provided the crew with a new outboard motor, food, water and enough fuel to reach land again safely. As is customary, the Carr offered to transport the 6 men to the ship's next port-of-call, but the men declined saying that the assistance they received was help enough.

Navy Capt. Tom Rowden, the commander of Task Force 65, was pleased with the efforts of all involved.

“I am extremely proud of the good work our Sailors did today,” he said. “This is exactly why we're out here. In the time I've spent in this region I've seen thousands of these small ships, which are very common. Had the lookouts not spotted this boat and had we not rendered it aid, the six men onboard would have been in grave danger.”

With its embarked Marine security force and its MH-60S helicopter, Mount Whitney stayed nearby to monitor the situation and offer assistance, if needed.

USS Mount Whitney is the flagship of the 6th Fleet and is forward deployed to Gaeta, Italy. USS Carr, home ported in Norfolk, Va., is currently assigned to 6th Fleet supporting the Global War on Terror and participating in theater security cooperation efforts.

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