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SS Pless Initiates Rescue of Japanese Fisherman in Saipan

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070905-13
Release Date: 9/5/2007 2:57:00 PM

From Commander Task Force 73 Public Affairs

SAIPAN (NNS) -- The crew of SS Maj. Stephen W. Pless (T-AK 3007), part of Maritime Prepositioning Ship Squadron (MPSRON) 3, was instrumental in the rescue of three Japanese fishermen from Saipan’s harbor on Aug 20.

While anchored out at the edge of the Saipan harbor, Pless’ mate on watch spotted the fishermen in the water approximately 300 feet off the port beam of the Pless, clinging to remnants of their 24-foot fishing boat. The mate on watch immediately notified the launch boat who recovered all three members.

“Given the ship’s anchorage and the local currents, this was probably the last opportunity for these gentlemen to be spotted and rescued prior to being washed out to sea,” said Lt. Cmdr. Pablo Mir, chief staff officer of MPSRON-3.

The fishermen are Japanese nationals who reside in Saipan and were out for a day of recreational fishing when the mishap occurred. No one was injured and the cause of the accident is currently under investigation.

“While this is not a regular occurrence for the Pless, the experience of the crew allowed for a timely response and subsequent rescue,” said Mir.

Pless is part of a squadron of ships carrying cargo for the U.S. military, based near Guam and Saipan. These ships, both government-owned and under long-term charter to the U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command, are fueled and ready to sail within a day's notice to respond to a crisis, be it conflict or a humanitarian disaster.

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