A U.S. Merchant Marine Academy midshipman and two of the Kings Point academy’s alumni aided in the rescue of a Pakistani fishing boat in the Indian Ocean, school officials said Monday.
Midshipman 2nd Class Joseph Mugno was serving as a deck cadet on the MV Maersk Kentucky on May 29 when the ship received a distress signal from a Pakistani fishing boat identified as the Al Yasmeen with 11 people aboard.
Officials said the fisherman shouted, “Boat is sinking! Taking on water!” over the VHF radio signal.
The MV Maersk Kentucky’s crew, which also included Chief Mate Brandt Hager, a 2000 graduate of the academy, and Second Mate Dylan Carrara, who graduated in 2009, directed the 290-meter container vessel to the scene, about six miles away.
The crew found the fishing boat sinking and five men from the boat’s crew in a small dinghy. Once the men were determined to be unarmed, the MV Maersk Kentucky brought them and six others from the sinking vessels onboard.
One of five U.S. service academies, the school trains students for roles on military and private vessels once they complete their education and includes a year of service at sea, which Mugno currently is serving.
As part of their service on the MV Maersk Kentucky, Mugno, Hager and Carrara also participate in the U.S. Coast Guard Automated Mutual Assistance Vessel Rescue, a program that allows commercial vessels to perform search and rescue when traditional resources aren’t available to a boat in distress.
Mugno said in a statement that the men on the fishing boat had been stranded for 10 days. They went without food for six days and had no water for four, he said.
“It was great how smooth the rescue went,” Mugno said. “Everyone just did what they had to do to make sure we were able to rescue the fisherman.”