USS Laboon Assists Stranded Sailboat
Story Number: NNS050720-03
Release Date: 7/20/2005 10:41:00 AM
From USS Theodore Roosevelt Public Affairs
ABOARD USS LABOON (NNS) -- USS Laboon (DDG 58), operating in the Atlantic in support of USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) Carrier Strike Group's Joint Task Force Exercise, assisted a stranded civilian sailboat July 17.
Laboon received a bridge-to-bridge radio telephone request for assistance from the sailing vessel Long Wei at 2:30 p.m. Long Wei was low on fuel, and her engine would not run for more than a few minutes.
Long Wei had been adrift for more than 24 hours and was about 125 miles off the coast of Georgia.
Laboon proceeded to Long Wei's location and dispatched a damage control assistance team.
"Providing assistance to such a small sailing vessel and her crew of three was a unique experience for all of those involved," said Lt.j.g. Dave Hollon, damage control assistant.
Upon arrival, the entire rigid hull inflatable (RHIB) crew immediately began troubleshooting, narrowing the source of the problem to the fuel system. After nearly six hours of work and multiple trips delivering fuel, retrieving parts and supplies, the determined cause was faulty fuel pumps and a clogged fuel system.
"Although we weren’t able to completely repair the vessel, it was amazing to see the tireless efforts and teamwork provided by our entire boat crew," Hollon said.
Despite the best efforts of the assistance team, the engine on Long Wei required parts that were not readily available at sea. Laboon coordinated assistance efforts with the Charleston, S.C., Coast Guard detachment. USCGC Tarpon (WPB 87310) was dispatched to tow Long Wei in to about 40 miles offshore, where a commercial service boat awaited.
“Although we were not ultimately able to get them on their way, our crew was eager to help those in need," said Laboon Commanding Officer Cmdr. Rob Randall. "In the end, we helped to get them safely back to shore. It’s another great example of the selfless nature of our Sailors."
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