Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Ballistic missile sub rescues stranded mariners

Phillip Ewing of Navy Times reported Wednesday that in a highly unusual event, five Bahamian fishermen clinging to their capsized boat "were rescued Aug. 11 by what could be the world’s least likely ship to render aid on the high seas — a U.S. ballistic missile submarine."

The USS Rhode Island based out of Georgia, a sister to the big Trident ballistic missile submarines based near Seattle at Bangor, was underway in theAtlantic Ocean when its crew spotted the overturned fishing vessel with four men and a 14-year-old boy aboard.

A Navy announcement said the big boat's Gold Crew commander, Cmdr. Kevin Mooney, decided to turn around and investigate.

While tight security normally has Navy security teams keeping fishermen and others from getting too close to the boats, Lt. Rebecca Rebarich, spokeswoman for Submarine Group 10, said that while highly unusual for ballistic missile subs, which operate invisibly, to help mariners, the Mooney felt obligated to help the fishermen who had been adrift in their upside down boat for four days.

Citing a Navy announcement, Ewing wrote that "the rescued men joked with the Rhode Island’s crew that no one would believe the story of how they were rescued, according to the Navy’s announcement, but Mooney gave each one proof — a ship’s command coin."

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