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Forrest Sherman Aids Stranded Peruvian Fishing Vessel

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS080614-06
Release Date: 6/14/2008 6:43:00 PM


By Lt. j.g. Thomas Berenato, Commander Destroyer Squadron 40 Public Affairs

PACIFIC OCEAN (NNS) -- The crew of guided missile destroyer USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98) came to the aid of a stranded fishing vessel 20 miles off Peru's port city of Paita, June 10.

Crewmembers delivered food, fuel and water to the stranded vessel just a day before the warship pulled into Callao to begin a series of exercises with the Peruvian Navy in support of U.S. Southern Command's Partnership of the Americas 2008 (POA 08) operation.

Just after 8 a.m. Forrest Sherman's officer of the deck, Ens. Alan Cummings, was driving due south when the Salcantay, a 30-foot craft bobbing dead in the water three miles to the east, hailed him over VHF radio in insistent Spanish. Cummings called Ens. Tomás Cavero, a Lima, Peru, native, to the pilothouse to interpret.

Salcantay, with a crew of eight, including a young boy, had run out of fuel after a night at sea and urgently requested enough gas to make the trip back to Paita, their homeport.

"When we heard the bridge-to-bridge call I knew we had the responsibility to help these guys out," Cummings said.

He received permission from Forrest Sherman's commanding officer, Cmdr. Dean M. Vesely, to slow and approach the vessel in distress.

"We have the mariner's duty to render humanitarian assistance when necessary," Vesely said. "Forrest Sherman is sailing in the South Pacific for a number of reasons, but one of the most basic is to promote goodwill and friendship with nations in the region. This morning, this opportunity presented itself."

Meanwhile Forrest Sherman's first lieutenant, Ens. Austin C. Roberts, loaded one of the ship's rigid hull inflatable boats with a cargo of fruit, cereal, bottled water and diesel fuel. Transferring the supplies to the Salcantay took two hours.

"The guys gave us a thumbs-up and were very gracious," said Roberts.

Before heading home, one of the fisherman addressed Forrest Sherman's captain over the radio.

"Thank you very much," he said in English. "God bless you from all our families."

Forrest Sherman, based in Norfolk, Va., has been deployed since June 1 in support of U.S. Southern Command's POA 08.

USS Farragut (DDG 99), USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98), with embarked SH-60B helicopter from HSL 44 Detachment 10, and USS Kauffman (FFG 59), with embarked SH-60B from HSL 42 Detachment 7, are assigned to Destroyer Squadron 40 to support POA 08 operations, which are being held April–October throughout South America, Central America and the Caribbean. POA 08 emphasizes interoperability and cooperation between U.S. and partner nations' maritime forces through a variety of exercises and events.

For more news from Commander, Destroyer Squadron 40, visit www.navy.mil/local/desron40.

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