Monday, 22 November 2021

Zadar Captain Josko Skoblar Rescues Cuban Nationals in Gulf of Mexico

November the 22nd, 2021 - Zadar captain Josko Skoblar has rescued Cuban nationals who had come unstuck and ended up in grave danger in the Gulf of Mexico.

As Morski writes, Zadar captain Josko Skoblar, together with his crew, heroically participated in the sacred duty of all sailors. Namely, at the beginning of November this year, while sailing through the Gulf of Mexico, Captain Skoblar and his crew rescued two unfortunate Cuban nationals who had been floating helplessly in the sea for days, holding on only to plastic canisters and pieces of wood. It is a real miracle that they managed to survive.

Zadar captain Josko Skoblar told an incredible story about rescuing the unfortunate Cuban nationals:

''I'm currently sailing on the Dakota Strength, [249 metres long]. It is a crude oil tanker with a capacity of 115,000 MT, [which was built in 2007]. The ship was en route from Philadelphia to Mexico, where we loaded the current cargo.

On November the 1st, at a position of 100 Nm northeast of the Yucatan Peninsula, at 09:30 local time, some people were observed floating around in the sea. By the time they were spotted, they were only a few hundred yards to our side. Something like that floating around in the sea is extremely difficult to observe. These people had clung onto two plastic canisters and pieces of wood and nothing else, something like that can't really be detected by radar but only visually. I can say that it's just a coincidence that we noticed them.

The guard officer informed me and I immediately headed for the bridge of command myself, but at the moment of arrival the target fell out of sight. The crew was immediately alerted, the observation position was marked out on the electronic map and I initiated the rescue operation. I began to turn the ship around, a lifeboat was prepared, and an additional guard was set up on the bridge. The first aid team was placed on standby.

After some fifteen to twenty minutes, the target was finally spotted again and I headed towards the people. Although the team on the rescue boat was on standby, I finally managed to maneuver closer to the people who were just several dozen metres away. We tossed life rings to them and drew them to the ship’s ladder over which we loaded them onto the ship. From the moment they were spotted, they were on our ship in an hour.

Two Cuban nationals were injured and in a rather bad condition. We immediately transferred them to the ship’s hospital, gave them fluids, dry clothes and everything else to make them feel better. According to their statements, the injured Cuban nationals were leaving Cuba for Cancun in Mexico when their ship was sunk by a storm. We later learned that there were eight people on board at the time of the accident, but the other six sadly didn't survive.

The two surviving Cubans spent as much as six days at sea, carried by the Gulf stream which is quite warm in that area. The sea was at a temperature of about 28 degrees and the injured Cubans had managed to survive. I later made contact with the MRCC Mexico (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre) and arranged for the reception of casualties on the Mexican Coast Guard patrol boat Oceanica Vera Cruz. The injured people were then transferred to a patrol boat at 22:00 local time on the same day, after which we continued our journey to the port of embarkation.

At the moment when they disembarked from our ship, they had already recovered well and were able to walk on their own, the heroic Zadar captain Josko Skoblar stated.

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Thursday, 7 January 2021

Croatian Seafarers Seek Urgent Vaccination From Competent Ministries

January the 7th, 2021 - While those who are the most vulnerable to the novel coronavirus and healthcare workers must come first when it comes to rolling out the new coronavirus vaccine in Croatia, Croatian seafarers have also voiced their need to be vaccinated through their union.

As Morski writes, the Croatian Seafarers' Union has sent a letter to the Ministry of Health and MMPI requesting that a sufficient number of vaccines be provided and reserved for Croatian seafarers wishing to be vaccinated as soon as possible, and that they be publicly informed about the organisation and the possibility of vaccination when the conditions are right for that.

For now, vaccination against COVID-19 is conditional on the availability of the vaccine at any given time, but there is only a matter of weeks left before the vaccine will become a condition for seafarers working in various places across the globe to board vessels.

It's worth mentioning that when it comes to the work of Croatian seafarers, and indeed any seafarers, the new coronavirus vaccine is not classified in the group of recommended vaccines, but necessary vaccines, and it is well known that about 16,000 Croatian seafarers and sailors sail on vessels engaged in international navigation in various locations across the world.

Given their precarious employment status (as only a few Croatian seafarers actually have permanent contracts), seafarers might easily lose their jobs and as such their income if they don't have the opportunity to be vaccinated against the new disease in a timely and appropriate manner.

In its letter sent to the competent ministries, the Croatian Seafarers' Union has emphasised the possibility of issues arising as a result of them failing to get vaccinated and they have insisted on voluntary vaccination against the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, as soon as possible.

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Sunday, 19 January 2020

Croatian Sailors Rescue Family and Dog from Sailboat Caught in Atlantic Storm

January 19, 2020 - Croatian sailors rescued a French family, their beloved dog, and a Portuguese skipper from a sailboat stranded in the Atlantic during a storm.

Novi List writes that the MV Sunda ship, commanded by Rijeka captain Ivan Versic, rescued a family and skipper from a storm in the middle of the Atlantic last week. Specifically, Captain Versic, two other Croatian sailors, and a Filipino crew were involved in the rescue. The action concerning the first deck officer Ivan Moro from Sinj and the second deck officer Sasa Katavic from Kastela was carried out on January 10th. MV Sunda was informed that a sailboat with four crew members and a small dog was stranded due to an engine malfunction.

“We made contact through VHF radio and found out that everything was fine with the crew, only they were tired. We agreed to delay the rescue for the next morning due to inclement weather and nightfall. Shortly after that, we made the first visual contact with the boat, and we were nearby all night in case of an emergency,” explained Captain Versic.

The next morning, due to bad weather, the crew was forced to interrupt the rescue operation five times, but consistently looked for the most suitable course to get closer to the sailboat in the safest possible way. The waves were four meters high.

“We managed to stop close enough to the boat to give them a 'Line Throwing App' and slowly, around 15.05, they made it next to us. We managed to keep the boat there for ten minutes until the crew was moved to our ship,” said Captain Versic of the rescue mission.

Our Good Captain Ivan Versic, with his officers and crew members of M/V Sunda, recovered from the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, a skipper along with a family of four members due to engine malfunction of their sailing boat. Congratulations to all our crew members for this successful, safe, and rescue operation!” said the Seastar team in a Facebook post.

The entire crew and a small French bulldog were rescued safely and without injury. Namely, three French nationals were rescued: a mother, father and 16-year-old child, and a Portuguese national, who was also the skipper of the boat. The boat was abandoned and the crew disembarked at the Brazilian port of Macapa on Thursday afternoon. The MV Sunda ship then continued its Amazon voyage upstream and is currently on the way to Santarem.

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