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COSCO container ship crew rescues sailors in Gulf of Mexico

Sailboat crew sounded distress call in stormy seas Sunday morning

Four sailors aboard the Yes Dear are rescued by the COSCO Malaysia crew in the Gulf of Mexico. (Photo: COSCO Shipping)

The captain and crew of the COSCO Malaysia are credited with rescuing a sailboat crew in distress in the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday.

The Hong Kong-flagged container ship, with a capacity of 8,500 twenty-foot equivalent units, was en route from Mobile, Alabama, to Port Tampa Bay in Florida when it received a distress call from the sailboat at 8:22 a.m.

COSCO Shipping Lines said the Malaysia crew immediately carried out a rescue operation under instruction from the U.S. Coast Guard. The sailboat was in the Gulf of Mexico about 130 nautical miles west of Port Tampa Bay when its crew sent the distress call. Then-Tropical Storm Sally had caused severe weather and high waves in the Gulf at the time of the incident. 

The four seafarers on the sailboat Yes Dear were rescued and boarded the 1,000-foot-long Malaysia at approximately 11 a.m. The sailors, who were provided food, water and dry clothing, disembarked the Malaysia at Port Tampa Bay at approximately 9 p.m. Sunday.

“We are thankful that the COSCO Malaysia and her crew were able to save the sailors and bring them to safety,” said Paul Anderson, president and CEO of Port Tampa Bay. “Mariners saving fellow mariners — this has been going on for millennia and part of what a mariner is called upon to do.”

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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.