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USS Crommelin rescues fishermen adrift at sea

By Daniel W. Roberts
Posted Monday, June 21, 2004

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Aboard USS Crommelin, At Sea (NNS) -- The guided-missile frigate USS Crommelin (FFG 37) rescued three fishermen south of Costa Rica June 11.

Don Luis II, a Costa Rican fishing vessel had been adrift for 17 days days after one of two batteries aboard exploded. Two Maritime Patrol Aircraft, working in conjunction with Crommelin, discovered the vessel.

Easy Rider 57, an SH-60B Seahawk helicopter from Crommelin’s air department, provided initial reporting on the condition of the distressed vessel. Crommelin’s Rescue and Assistance Team, augmented with members of U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) 102, boarded Don Luis II in an attempt to make repairs. Once aboard, the team replaced the faulty batteries and worked throughout the night to repair Don Luis II, but was unsuccessful.

“I don’t even know how they got under way. That boat had quite a few problems,” said Engineman 1st Class Bryant D. Dillenger of Siler City, N.C. “The engine was covered in oil and fuel, and there was a large amount of fuel in the bilge."

June 12, the fishing vessel’s master decided to abandon the Don Luis II and requested to embark Crommelin. The three fishermen were taken aboard, fed and given a full medical examination, fresh clothes and bedding. The abandoned boat was sunk to prevent it from becoming a hazard to navigation.

“When we saw how far out to sea we were drifting, we had hope of being rescued,” said Ehudy Gomez Vargas, the master of the fishing vessel. “We knew the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard patrolled these waters, and eventually, they would find us.”

“I was surprised to see them in as good condition as they were,” said Signalman 3rd Class Samir D. Patel of Mesa, Ariz.. “They were healthy and in good spirits.”

At approximately midnight on the morning of June 13, Crommelin rendezvoused with a Costa Rican patrol boat inside Costa Rican territorial waters and transferred the fishermen to the patrol boat to be delivered safely home.

Before departing, the master of Don Luis II thanked the Sailors and Coast Guardsmen. “I don’t know where we’d be if you hadn’t found us.”

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USS Crommelin rescues fishermen adrift at sea
Official U.S. Navy file photo of two SH-60F Seahawks assigned to the "Easy Riders" of Light Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (HSL) 37 approach the guided-missile frigate USS Crommelin (FFG 37). Crommelin, assisted by the Coast Guard, rescued three fishermen off the coast of Costa Rica in June.