USS Fort McHenry lends a hand

Feb 01, 2008
Author: P&S

Two stranded fishermen plead for help from the crew of the amphibious dock landing ship USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43) 26 nautical miles off the coast of Sao Tome and Principe, off the western coast of Africa. Lookouts aboard the US Navy ship noticed the fishermen waving their shirts and rubbing their stomachs. The men were out to sea for four days and out of fuel and supplies. The Fort McHenry is part of Africa Partnership Station, a multi-national effort to bring the latest training and techniques to maritime professionals in nine West and Central African countries. US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class R.J. Stratchko (Released)

The American dock landing ship USS FORT McHENRY (LSD 43), currently on deployment to the US Africa Partnership programme in West Africa, went to the rescue of two men stranded in a small open fishing boat 26 miles south of the islands of Sao Tome and Principe.

The two men had been at sea for four days and had run out of fuel, food and water and when spotted by the American ship the two on board signaled their plight by rubbing their stomachs and pointing to their mouths in a universal language clear to all.

Their full story unfolded with the assistance of a Portuguese officer on board the US ship, Lt Cmdr Jose Neto, who was able to translate. Afterwards the fishing boat was re-provisioned with fuel, food, water and a spare compass as well as directions pointing the way home.

One of the lookouts on duty on the Fort McHenry said that when he first saw the craft in the water he thought it was a whale, but when they came closer he noticed two men in the open boat, waving their shirts and indicating they were hungry.

After the transfer of supplies was complete the fishing boat followed the larger ship back to the island of Principe while the Sao Tome & Principe coastguard had been placed on standby in case it was needed.

At the time of the discovery USS Fort McHenry has just departed the island country and was en route to Equatorial Guinea in support of the Africa Partnership Station.



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