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Celebrity site picks up mariner’s fabulous rescue

Container ship crew saves man on sinking boat more than 40 hours after he departed Port Canaveral

The crew of the container ship Angeles rescued Stuart Bee about 86 miles east of Port Canaveral, Florida, Sunday. (Photos: Coast Guard)

There among the photos of assorted Kardashians on Monday was the headline: “Florida Sailor Found Clinging to Tip of Sinking Boat Two Days After Going Missing.”

The news apparently was too fabulous for TooFab, typically devoted to coverage of celebrities, TV, movies and fashion, to pass up. 

“Stuart Bee was miraculously rescued from the middle of the ocean on Sunday, two days after he departed Cape Marina in Port Canaveral and never returned,” TooFab said. 

The U.S. Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville, Florida, said a crew member on the Liberia-flagged container ship Angeles spotted the 63-year-old Bee on the hull of his 32-foot Sea Ray about 86 miles east of Port Canaveral. He was brought on board the Angeles at about 11 a.m. Sunday. 

“Incredible pictures taken from aboard the ship show Bee desperately clinging to the bow of his sinking ship, the only part protruding from the Atlantic waters,” TooFab said. 

Bee had been reported missing to Coast Guard watchstanders in Jacksonville on Saturday morning. He had departed the Port Canaveral marina on his boat, named the Stingray, at about 4 p.m. Friday and was not known to stay out in the Atlantic overnight.  

“Watchstanders dispatched a C-130 Hercules aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater to respond and directed Coast Guard Station Port Canaveral watchstanders to issue preliminary and extended communications in an effort to locate the missing man,” the Coast Guard said.

TooFab was more dramatic in its telling of the story. “The command center sent out an alert to all vessels to be on the lookout, scrambling water patrols and even a Hercules C-130 aircraft to scour the sea.” 

Bee’s vessel reportedly had suffered mechanical failure and then taken on water. 

“He clung to the tip of the crippled craft all through the night as the ocean slowly claimed it; but after sunrise on Sunday, he spotted the Angeles in the distance, removed his shirt and began waving at the crew in the hopes of catching their attention — and it worked,” TooFab said. 

Describing the cargo ship crew’s rescue of Bee, TooFab said, “Making a bee-line [sic], they threw him a life ring and the exhausted sailor summoned the strength to swim across and climb aboard before the ship brought him safely back to shore.”

A crew member identified on Facebook as Lacruiser P. Relativo said Bee did not know what day it was when he was helped aboard the Angeles. 

“I saw his teary eyes as he made the sign of the cross,” Relativo wrote. 

After the rescue, the Angeles continued its voyage toward the Port of Wilmington, Delaware, where the 224-meter-long container ship is scheduled to arrive Tuesday, according to Vessel Finder.

Bee will disembark from the Angeles in Wilmington, according to the Coast Guard, which said Monday that he had “no medical concerns.”

“The chances of finding Bee alive were slim,” said Coast Guard Lt. Shawn Antonelli, District 7 command duty officer, on Monday. “But he was able to stay with his boat, which helped save his life.”

In a press release issued Sunday afternoon, Coast Guard Capt. Mark Vlaun, commanding officer of Sector Jacksonville, said, “Saving lives at sea is our highest calling. This is a truly incredible outcome that demonstrates the bond among all mariners and our community.”

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Click for more American Shipper/FreightWaves stories by Senior Editor Kim Link-Wills.

Kim Link Wills

Senior Editor Kim Link-Wills has written about everything from agriculture as a reporter for Illinois Agri-News to zoology as editor of the Georgia Tech Alumni Magazine. Her work has garnered awards from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Magazine Association of the Southeast. Prior to serving as managing editor of American Shipper, Kim spent more than four years with XPO Logistics.