On Apr. 14, 2012, a USCG HC-130J Super Hercules attending a Titanic 100th Anniversary ceremony with a commeration flight, was diverted to coordinate a rescue operation of a French sailing vessel 1,300 miles east of Boston.
The rescue plane crew air-dropped supplies including a pump and hand-held radio to maintain communications.
According to the U.S. Coast Guard press release, First Coast Guard District Command Center watchstanders, based out of Boston, were notified at 7:30 a.m. by Rescue Coordination Center Gris Nez, in Normandy, France, that the 40-foot sailing vessel UBU 7′s rudder was leaking, but the boat was still buoyant.
A Spanish fishing vessel, the Generoso Tercero, was identified by the Coast Guard’s Super Hercules during the aircraft’s transit from St. John’s, Newfoundland, and diverted to rescue the sailors. All three sailors were succesfully rescued by the Spanish vessel with no injuries.
Another vessel, the Moscow Sea, a member of the Automated Mutual-Assistance Vessel Rescue (AMVER) System, will meet the fishing vessel and transfer the sailors aboard while the UBU 7 remains afloat as a potential hazard to navigation.
It’s at least amazing that some sailors were rescued on the 100th anniversary of the Titanic sinking by the AMVER systems created in the wake of the Titanic disaster, when passing ships had unintentionally sailed next to the cruise ship unaware of its collision.
By the way: Apr. 14 is not the best day of the year to set sail. At least every 12th year of each century…
Image credit: U.S. Coast Guard photo by PA2 Jetta Disco
The following images were taken by Matteo Marianeschi during a recent visit in Luni Sarzana, airport where the 1° Nucleo Aereo, 1° Sezione Volo Elicotteri of the Guardia Costiera (CP, Italian Coast Guard) and the Maristaeli Luni Sarzana with the Gruppi 1 and 5 of the Marina Militare (Italian Navy) operate.
The local Guardia Costiera unit is equipped with 6 AB-412CP Koala that are employed by the Sezione Elicotteri for SAR (Search and Rescue), Port State Control e Maritime Navigation Safety, Fishing Control, Maritime Policing, Liaison and Transportation and Civil Protection (for fire fighting activities during Summer, by means of the bambi bucket system) duties. The alert take off is performed within 30 minutes during daylight hours and with 120 minutes at night on a 7/24/365 basis.
On the other side of the airport the 1° and 5° Gruppo of the Italian Navy operate with the EH-101 and the AB-212 helos. Noteworthy, all the new helicopters of the rotary wing component of the Marina are tested in Luni before being delivered to the front line operative units. Beginning on October 2010, crews, aircraft and maintenance personnel, will be deployed to Afghanistan even if no more information have been unveiled so far dealing with the exact number of people and helos involved in the mission.
Absolutely interesting is the building hosting the helo dunker for underwater escape training, a mock up of a helicopter cockpit (so far, the system is able to depict the AB-212 and SH-3D cockpit, even if an upgrade to reproduce the EH-101 and NH-90 ones has been requested) that is plunged into a pool, and then flipped over (if required). The system is used to train crews to escape an aircraft from an upside down position, in case of impact with the water. At least once a year all the flying crews of the Marina have to test their ability to fight their way clear of restraint and harness to surface, to maintain their currencies. The Sarzana’s helo dunker is one of the few available in Europe and it is also used by many NATO countries and Italian Armed Forces for their own crews.
A few days ago I discussed about airshows performed above the surface of the water (see Air displays above the water: a “risky business”?). A really interesting air display is scheduled for Sept. 20 in Varazze, a village located on the sea about 30 chilometers to the West of Genoa and some 11 chilometers to the Northeast of Savona. The Cdr of the local harbour is the M.llo 2^ Cl. Np Roberto FERRARI of the Capitanerie di Porto (Italian Coast Guard), who’s an expert in maritime navigation safety and NBC defence. Since he’s responsible for the harbour security during the airshow, he’s part of the team that has organized the show. The airshow is going to be attended by an Alenia M346, an Ericcson S-64 Skycrane, a Coast Guard AB.412, a P180 of the Piaggio company, a SOREM C:415 and by the Frecce Tricolori display team. Rehearsals will take place on Sept. 18. Roberto provided a lot of information and documents about the airshow and he granted me the permission to publish them, along with the (provisional) programme.
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