KRALENDIJK- The Caribbean Coastguard recently received a report that the tanker CETUS was in distress at sea and that the crew had to leave the ship. The Coast Guard patrol aircraft was immediately directed by the Rescue and Coordination Center (RCC) to the specified location to take a look.
Once at the location, about 160 miles northwest of Curaçao, the crew of the Dash aircraft saw that the persons were floating on ‘fenders’ in the water and their tanker called CETUS had sunk. The Dash plane dropped two inflatable life rafts from the plane for the 14 drowning people and a dog. The drowned people quickly boarded the two life rafts, waiting for help on its way. To monitor both life rafts and to ensure the safety of the drowned, the RCC has directed a second Coast Guard patrol aircraft to the site to assist at sea. The helicopter of the USCG’s Coast Guard cutter, Thetis, also helped search for the CETUS drowning at sea during this rescue.
In the meantime, the RCC of the Coast Guard had the tankers MELBA and STAVANGER a request sent via NAVTEX for assistance with the case. The two tankers that had agreed to help, go directly to the drowning people to save them.
Once on site, the tankers MELBA and STAVANGER took the drowning people on board the two life rafts, which were floating separately at sea. In coordination with the RCC and the captains of the two tankers, the drowning persons and a dog have been sent to Venezuela and Trinidad and Tobago before returning home safely.
The sunken tanker CETUS had two crew members who are still missing. The Coast Guard sends its condolences to the families of the missing.