USS Chancellorsville offers help to fishermen
USS Chancellorsville sailors this week rescued an Indonesian fishing vessel with a broken engine that had been adrift for seven days in Southeast Asia’s Molucca Sea, according to a Navy news release.
The Navy cruiser, assigned to Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan, provided supplies and repairs to the Adem Laut on Tuesday after a nearby motor vessel, unable to help the fishermen, radioed that the boat was in distress, Navy officials said.
A Chancellorsville team circled the Adem Laut in a rigid-hull inflatable boat, finding the 14 fishermen in good health and their vessel with dwindling stocks of food and fresh water. The Chancellorsville provided ice, rice and sugar.
Chief Petty Officer Zoilo DeArce and Petty Officer 1st Class Arnold Olea, both engineers, attempted to repair Adem Laut’s engine, but the damage was so extensive it could not be fixed at sea, according to Navy officials.
The Chancellorsville contacted the U.S. Defense Attaché Office in Jakarta, Indonesia, to provide details about the situation and request Indonesian naval support. The crew was told the Indonesian navy wouldn’t be able to help until the following day and that the Chancellorsville would have to tow the vessel in the interim.
Boatswain’s mates had to act fast: With sunset approaching, time was running out to safely rig a tow for the fishing vessel. Under the direction of Ensign Shielito Riodique, they put together a towing hawser on the Chancellorsville’s fantail.
The next morning, the Indonesian naval patrol boat Kri Batola arrived to provide further help. The Chancellorsville transferred responsibility for the disabled vessel to the Indonesian navy and immediately returned to the Kitty Hawk Strike Group operating in the vicinity, the Navy release stated.
“This is an example of the good will and professionalism of the USS Chancellorsville team,” Ensign Shane M. Fox said in the news release. “We did our part to ensure the safety of these fishermen and we are proud of our crew for the timely and highly professional manner in which they dealt with this call for assistance.”
The Chancellorsville is a Ticonderoga-class cruiser serving as part of Carrier Group 5, the Kitty Hawk Strike Group, operating from Yokosuka.