USS Ashland Rescues Two Sailors and Their Dogs Stranded At Sea

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The Sasebo-based amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48) rendered assistance to two distressed mariners, Oct. 25, whose sailboat had strayed well off its original course. The mariners, Jennifer Appel and Tasha Fuiaba, both from Honolulu, and their two dogs had set sail from Hawaii to Tahiti this spring.

image/text credit: U.S. Navy 

They had an engine casualty May 30 during bad weather but continued on, believing they could make it to land by sail.Two months into their journey and long past when they originally estimated they would reach Tahiti, they began to issue distress calls.

image/text credit: U.S. Navy 

The two continued the calls daily, but they were not close enough to other vessels or shore stations to receive them.On Oct. 24, they were discovered 900 miles southeast of Japan by a Taiwanese fishing vessel.

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The fishing vessel contacted Coast Guard Sector Guam who then coordinated with Taipei Rescue Coordination Center, the Japan Coordination Center, and the Joint Coordination Center in Honolulu to render assistance.

Operating near the area on a routine deployment, Ashland made best speed to the location of the vessel in the early morning on Oct. 25 and arrived on scene at 10:30 a.m that morning. After assessing the sailboat unseaworthy, Ashland crew members brought the distressed mariners and their two dogs aboard the ship at 1:18 p.m. Once on Ashland, the mariners were provided with medical assessments, food and berthing arrangements. The mariners will remain on board until Ashland’s next port of call.

VIAU.S. Navy
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