Pioneer Rescues Three at Sea

By USS Pioneer Public Affairs

INGLESIDE, TX – USS Pioneer (MCM 9), an Avenger-Class mine countermeasures ship, rescued three fishermen 35 miles off the coast of Mexico April 25, 2009.

Pioneer’s bridge team spotted the boat the previous day when the occupants appeared to be waving a flare and strobe light. The fishermen left port the day prior, scheduled to return the same day when their engine died.

The men did not have a radio and had no food when Pioneer located the boat. Sailors from Pioneer boarded the fishermen’s boat to make an attempt to repair their engine, but it was beyond repair. Culinary specialists then transferred sandwiches and water to the boat’s crew. Shortly after, with communications assistance from USS Devastator (MCM 6), Pioneer crewmember Electronics Technician 2nd Class Caesar Sosa, acting as a linguist, was able to contact the Mexican Coast Guard through a satellite phone and arrange for assistance.

At approximately 1:30 a.m., the Mexican ship ARM Vera Cruz (PO 154) arrived on the scene to return the fishermen and boat ashore.

“I am exceptionally proud of the way my crew addressed this situation with compassion and their usual ‘can-do’ attitude,” said Lt. Cmdr. Mark Stefanik, Pioneer’s commanding officer. “From the Officer of the Deck’s first report to the time we were relieved by Vera Cruz, the entire team showed great determination, despite the weather and long hours.”