CASTINE, Maine—Maine Maritime Academy’s Training Ship State of Maine, transiting the Atlantic Ocean, responded to a distress call yesterday morning. The training ship was heading toward Portland, Maine Wednesday morning when Captain Leslie Eadie was contacted by the U.S. Coast Guard Regional Coordination Center in Boston regarding a sailing vessel in the vicinity that was taking on water. The Prodigal, a sailing vessel registered in Norfolk, Virginia, was battered by recent storms, and its Captain, Michael Hurley, had radioed for help.
The State of Maine was approximately 520 nautical miles SSE of Halifax, Nova Scotia and approximately 29 nautical miles from the imperiled sailboat when it changed course to meet the vessel. About 1 ½ hours after the initial call, they were able to establish communication with the vessel, and learned that the sailboat had structural damage, but was still afloat. As the training ship advanced toward the rescue site, students aboard the State of Maine prepared to render assistance by checking the fast rescue boats, fastening a cargo net to the main deck which would hang to the waterline to act as a target as they brought the two vessels together, and rigging a jacob’s ladder for the sailboat captain to climb away from his sailboat.
The sailboat came alongside the State of Maine and crew transferred several loads of personal gear off of the sailboat, and then her Captain—the only person aboard—stepped across to the cargo net and began his climb up the side of the training ship. Within a couple of hours, Captain Hurley was able to call his wife to apprise her of the situation. He would then get settled for the transit to Portland, and enjoy a hot meal.
“I’m so proud of our fine students, officers, crew and staff, who were put to the test today,” said President William J. Brennan when he heard the news of the rescue. “Please thank Captain Eadie and all hands for me on a job well done.”
“Students today got a first-hand look at near disaster,” said Nate Gandy, Commandant of Midshipmen and Maine Maritime Academy alumnus. “Collaboration, problem-solving, skill, and luck all conspired to bring about a positive outcome, and we are thankful for a safe rescue for Captain Hurley.”
The Training Ship State of Maine is due to arrive in Portland, Maine on Saturday, June 13, 2015. The educational cruise will continue on to Cobh, Ireland; Norfolk, Virginia; and Searsport, Maine, ending in Castine on Monday, July 27. To follow the cruise, visit cruise.mma.edu.
The Training Ship State of Maine has been enrolled in the Automated Mutual Assistance Vessel Rescue System, a global, voluntary search and rescue system run by the United States Coast Guard, since 1998. AMVER utilizes commercial ships to save people at sea when traditional resources such as helicopters and cutters are not available. More than 21,000 ships representing more than 100 nations participate in AMVER, and these ships have saved more than 300 lives so far this calendar year. To learn more about AMVER, visit www.amver.com.
The State of Maine sails under the direction of Captain Leslie B. Eadie III, of Brewer, Maine. A 1976 graduate of the Academy, Captain Eadie assumed command of the vessel in 2011. The 500-foot, 16,000-ton Training Ship State of Maine, originally commissioned as the USNS Tanner, served as a Navy oceanographic research vessel before being converted in 1997 to accommodate the training needs of the college. The fourth vessel to bear the name State of Maine, the ship is a modern, technologically advanced training vessel.
About Maine Maritime Academy
Maine Maritime Academy is a co-educational, public college on the coast of Maine offering 18 degree programs in engineering, management, science, and transportation. The college serves approximately 950 undergraduate and graduate students in career-oriented programs of study. Maine Maritime Academy was ranked the #1 Best Public College on Money magazine’s Best Colleges list released in August of 2014. The college’s persistence, retention and graduation rates are well above national averages, and the job placement rate is in excess of 90 percent within 90 days of graduation. For more information, visit mainemaritime.edu.