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Coastguard rescues Polish sailor

  • Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

A Bermuda Coastguard crew rescued a solo sailor whose boat started to take on water on the high seas.

The Polish skipper of the 36ft ketch SV Hobo Girl was towed to safety by the coastguard after he was spotted five nautical miles southeast of the island.

The rescue was carried out after Bermuda Radio contacted the Royal Bermuda Regiment-run coastguard on Tuesday night and asked the unit to investigate a vessel close to the island.

RBR Sergeant Major Jeff Patterson, second-in-command of the coastguard, said: “The Bermuda Coastguard has the ability to conduct search and rescue operations up to 12 nautical miles from shore, dependent on weather conditions.

“I am pleased that this particular international search operation was resolved successfully.”

Sergeant Major Patterson said the service was pleased to be able to help, but highlighted that the single-handed sailor’s plight was a warning to island boat owners.

He added: “It serves as a reminder, for all boat operators in Bermuda to conduct regular maintenance checks on their vessels, ensure that all requisite safety equipment is on board and is in good working order and to file a float plan with Bermuda Radio, and a family member or friend, who is onshore.”

The US Coast Guard earlier launched a search for the boat with one of its C130 Hercules aircraft after the captain had texted a friend that the boat was taking on water about 360 nautical miles off Daytona Beach in Florida.

The Hobo Girl was last sighted by tanker ship Eco Nebula on May 13, when the captain reported he was well and that he was considering heading to Bermuda for repairs.

The US Coast Guard alerted Bermudian authorities that the boat was headed to the island, but continued their own search.

The Bermuda Coastguard towed the boat to St George’s, where the captain is now quarantined on board for 14 days, under Covid-19 regulations, while repairs are made.

Wayne Caines, the national security minister, said: “The Royal Bermuda Regiment continues to demonstrate its extreme value to Bermuda.

“During this pandemic, our new coastguard has engaged in the vital role of protecting and safeguarding those on our waters.”

He added: “The RBR and the individuals in its service are prepared and ready. And during these current times of adversity they continue to display an unparalleled resilience and determination.

“All of Bermuda should be proud of our soldiers and the service they provide to the people of this country.”

Mr Caines said: “We continue to encourage individuals in the community, who are looking for a dynamic and exciting career choice, to consider joining the RBR which offers a wide range of options, now inclusive of Bermuda’s first-ever coastguard.”