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Stump Assists Stranded Vessels at Sea

Navy Newsstand

Story Number: NNS030819-03

Release Date: 8/19/2003 9:18:00 AM

By Sonar Technician (Surface) 1st Class (SW) David Vail, USS Stump Public Affairs

ABOARD USS STUMP, At Sea (NNS) -- Acting on an international distress call relayed by U.S. Coast Guard District 11, USS Stump (DD 978) recently conducted an 11-hour, high-speed transit to render assistance to a distressed fishing vessel and its six crew members, while conducting counter-drug operations in the eastern Pacific Ocean.

Responding to the call for assistance, the Norfolk-based destroyer made best speed to the Salvadoran-flagged fishing vessel Vikingo's last known position, 200 nautical miles west of Costa Rica. When within range, Stump's embarked "Proud Warrior" helicopter deployed to quickly locate the drifting Vikingo.

Stump's Rescue and Assistance (R&A) Team, led by Senior Chief Engineman (SW) Scott Knorowski, executed a night-time boarding of the Vikingo and quickly assessed its condition. After deploying a portable generator and temporary lighting systems, the R&A Team began effecting urgent repairs to Vikingo's engine and generator problems. The R&A Team remained aboard for 7 hours, troubleshooting the faulty mechanical and electrical systems, and providing the distressed crew with fresh food and 55 gallons of clean fuel. They debarked when the fishing vessel Leon Dorado arrived at the scene around the next morning to tow the Vikingo into port.

"Search and rescue is one of Stump's primary missions," said Electrician's Mate 2nd Class (SW) Antwone McWhirter, an electrician's mate assigned to Stump's Rescue and Assistance Team. "It's a team effort among the ship's departments, all contributing to finding the disabled vessel and getting the required help to its crew."

This was Stump's second search and rescue operation in the eastern Pacific. June 19, Stump assisted the U.S.-flagged sailing vessel Okiva, becalmed with engine and sail problems 200 miles west of Ecuador. Stump's R&A Team provided Okiva with fuel and effected engine repairs, allowing her to continue her voyage from Panama to the Galapagos Islands.

Stump and its embarked detachment from Helicopter Anti-submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 42 departed their homeports of Norfolk, Va., and Mayport, Fla., respectively, June 2 for a routine six-month deployment to the U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command area of responsibility, which includes the Caribbean Sea, eastern Pacific and southern Atlantic. Stump is a Commander, Naval Surface Group 2 ship, assigned to Destroyer Squadron 6.

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