Wells Plays Important Role in Rescue of Sailboat Captain

Wells Plays Important Role in Rescue of Sailboat Captain

CASTINE, Maine -- Cross country's Gabrielle Wells (Kittery, Maine) played an important role in last week's rescue of South Carolina Author/Sailor Mike Hurley. Wells answered the distress call and deployed students to the situation, while serving as the deck officer on watch aboard the TSSOM.

Wells, a Marine Transportation Operations major, serves as the Cadet Chief Mate and captain of the women's cross country team. Wells is a recipient of the Top Deck Cadet Shipping Award and was a member of the 2013 USTFCCCA Women's All-Academic Team.

Click HERE to watch Gabrielle's interview with WCSH 6.

Click HERE to read the Associated Press Story. 

Maine Maritime Academy's Training Ship State of Maine, transiting the Atlantic Ocean, responded to a distress call on Wednesday, June 10. 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." 

Click HERE to read the complete Maine Maritime Academy press release.

On Sunday, Coast Guard officials honored the crew of the TSSOM, giving them an Automated Mutual-Assistance Vessel Rescue System (AMVER) pennant for helping a ship in distress.

Click HERE to watch a video from Sunday's Coast Guard AMVER Pennant presentation.