Seamanship Trophy will be awarded at Kings Point
The captain and crew of a U.S.-flag merchant vessel will receive the American Merchant Marine Seamanship Trophy for their skillful action in rescuing two mariners from stormy seas.
The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, which administers the selection process for awarding the American Merchant Marine Seamanship Trophy, said Capt. Tom McDorr and the crew of Horizon Falcon, owned by Horizon Lines Inc., displayed superior seamanship last year when they saved the lives of two Chinese sailors whose vessel sank in the North Pacific.
The trophy will be presented during a luncheon on Jan. 26 at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, N.Y.
On July 12, 2007, the containership Horizon Falcon was en route from Guam to Yantian, China, when it received a message from the U.S. Coast Guard to divert course and come to the aid of a vessel, the bulk carrier Hai Tong No. 7, carrying a cargo of logs.
The storm surge of Typhoon Man-Yi had caused the Hai Tong No. 7’s cargo to shift. The vessel foundered and its Chinese crew had already been in the water for two days before any ship reached the scene.
The Horizon Falcon was first to arrive.
McDorr “skillfully navigated his large vessel through rough seas filled with floating logs to attempt to locate and rescue survivors,” the academy said.
A lifeboat from the Horizon Falcon, with the chief mate and three seamen aboard, was dispatched despite high winds and 24-foot swells. One Chinese survivor was pulled from the water, but as the lifeboat was being recovered by Horizon Falcon, a large swell nearly swamped the craft while damaging its motor. The lifeboat was ordered abandoned, but its crew and the survivor were able to climb to safety up the containership’s 40-foot pilot ladder.
A second Chinese seaman was spotted in the water near the containership. One of the vessel’s able-bodied seamen harnessed himself to the pilot’s ladder, and using a grappling hook, was able to snag and rescue the man.
The rescued Chinese seamen were delivered to the port of Yantian, where representatives of the Chinese government expressed their thanks to the captain and crew of the containership.