The Seafarers International Union, Atlantic, Gulf, Lakes and Inland Waters (SIU) has revealed the role of its members in the rescue of crew from the stricken car carrier Sincerity Ace when fire broke out as the Japanese-owned, Panama-flagged vessel was in the mid-Pacific. Five seafarers died after the crew had to abandon ship, some by jumping overboard.
The US-flagged Green Lake car carrier was the first vessel to respond to a US coastguard alert and its crew, including SIU members, used their rescue training to help save the lives of seven crew members and search for the missing. Three other merchant ships took part in the rescue, in very poor weather conditions, as well as a US coastguard aircraft and a Navy 7th Fleet Poseidon. A total of 16 members of the Sincerity Ace crew were rescued in an operation that covered 5,544 nautical square miles over three days.
Ten SIU members of the crew of the Green Lake had completed training at an SIU-affiliated centre in Maryland, USA. The ship’s captain, William Boyce, said the crew: “showed incredible perseverance, teamwork and determination, constantly improvising with each survivor’s recovery in very difficult and dangerous conditions. I am proud of each and every one of this crew for saving seven souls that had experienced horrific conditions and were exhausted.”
The Green Lake diverted to Honolulu, Hawaii to disembark the survivors, and the Sincerity Ace was towed to Japan.