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USS Ashland Assists Distressed Vessel

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS120917-27

By Ensign Mary Bennet USS Ashland Public Affairs Officer

NORFOLK (NNS) -- Amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48) discovered and rendered aid to a distressed sailing vessel while operating in the Virginia Capes, Sept. 12.

The crew spotted sailing vessel Primadonna while ensuring the safety of the area in order to conduct a gunnery exercise. Upon contact, Primadonna responded with a distress call stating their depletion of food, stores and fuel.

In less than an hour, Ashland deployed an 18-person boat team to provide the three-person crew of Primadonna with two days of food, regional nautical charts, water and the diesel fuel necessary to transit safely to Norfolk. Upon receiving the supplies, the sailing vessel was able to transit under their own power and proceeded toward their destination.

The vessel was set adrift after encountering heavy weather from hurricane Leslie which damaged the mast of their main sail. Primadonna fought the rip currents until exhausting its fuel supply approximately two days prior to being discovered by Ashland. Primadonna was en route to Norfolk after setting sail from Bermuda three weeks ago.

The crew of Primadonna consisted of two men and one woman from France. The language barrier between the French mariners and U.S. Sailors was overcome by an Ashland crew member who speaks French Canadian.

Ashland is underway in support of contractor sea trials. Its mission is to conduct amphibious operations through transporting, launching and supporting assault landing craft, Marines and combat cargo to designated areas throughout the world.

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