Miss Ester towed home

| 19/03/2011

(CNS): Update Sunday 8:45am – The 35-foot fishing vessel Miss Ester and her three man crew have been towed safely to shore and police reported late last night that the vessel was at George Town Harbour, North Terminal. About 5:30 pm Friday, 18 March, the owner of the Miss Ester received a call from his crew to say they had developed engine trouble and had broken down before radio contact was lost. The owner contacted both the police and Cayman Islands Helicopters, which he engaged to carry out a search of the area. On Saturday morning police reported that rescue teams from Cayman and the US were searching for the fishing boat in an operation coordinated by the RCIPS.

The search continued into the early hours of Saturday morning and other vessels in the area were alerted and the US Coastguard was made aware. The US Coastguard fixed-wing aircraft joined the search and it was this aircraft which located the boat.

About 11:35am Saturday the US Coastguard confirmed sighting the boat 49 miles due south of Bodden Town and police said a nearby cargo vessel, the African Lion, went to her location to render assistance. The owner of the boat was informed and the Cruise Ship Tender, Caribbean Temptress, owned by Caribbean Marine Services, set off from South Sound to recover the vessel.

It is understood that the police helicopter is currently in the US undergoing maintenance.

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  1. Eric B says:

    Maybe if the marine unit stop patrolling around Wendy’s they would get more done What happened to their top notched "captains" been there done that quite professional. Those vessels have simply been damaged so many times by these same individuals and nothing is ever done about the situations. I can remember when this unit was a very effective unit under the previous drug’s boss. What a shame all that money spent and we can’t even field a boat to do a simply rescue. The sea too rough to exit the channel can you imagine XXXXX. I can remember when marine officers went out in tropical storms to save lives.

  2. Jen says:

    Glad to hear all made it back safely with the help of the U.S.C.G. and cetain Cayman authorities. For the sake of others that risked their lives to save the 3 members on board the “out of gas” vessel and to those that are “captains” in the Caymans: Do your safety checks to make sure your vessels are seaworthy. Have enough fuel for the duration of your journey plus emergency gas and that you have sufficient safety equipment for yourself and your crew. It amazes me when I watched the “captain” on Cayman 27 news that he says he wasn’t scared: A lot of respect for the sea comes in handy and having the proper equipment in place for in the event of emergencies can make the difference between life and death.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Well first of all i’d like to say thanks to all that participated in this rescue..the rcips, cayman helicopters and the u.s. coast guard. i know that those poor guys if the got the opportunity they would say the same.
    now in second place to those of you who are posting your stupid and ignorant comments, if you did’nt do anything to help this situacion then keep your mouth shut because i’m sure that most of you have no clue of what goes on when people are stranded at sea and i’m sure that if it wasyou in their shoes you would hope someone would do the same for you..
    so instead of going on and on with your silly comments why dont you all just be happy that the guys that were out there are all safe?..once again thanks to all who took part in this rescue.

  4. Night Flyer says:

    My word, what vile and venomous comments. Why are you guys always so angry?

  5. chuckie surfmeister says:

    Let’s keep a sense of proportion about this incident Firstly the rescue services on this tiny speck of land are brilliant and I thank them for their professionalism and dedication. Seccondly this would all have been averted if the owner of the boat had given his crew a satellite phone, they could have called him and got a mechanic to come out and fix it (cheaper than a tug boat and a helicopter ride) These things happen to the best of us, but not having the wharewithall to save yourself is plain stupid and puts the lives of the rescuers in danger…… Is it not about time that the Police insist on all Off-Shore boaters having a Sat Phone or Epirb?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Maybe people are so sarcastic towards the US because of their foreign policy of invading countries under false pretenses not to mention the economic meltdown at home!!!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Thank you from the Cayman Islands people to the United States Coastguard, and apologies for the ill informed comments below that seem to have degenerated into a slanging match.  It appears the operation was co-ordinated by the RCIPS, so presumably the aircraft didn’t just happen upon the area? And others became involved to make this turn out well.  Problems can come at anytime, there are times people just have to help and then get on with their day jobs.  Well done to all involved

  8. Judge Dredd says:

    The owners should be obliged to sell the vessel to pay for the costs of this debacle.  Why should we the duty-paying public subsidise their business?

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m probably wrong, but it seems that the reason we pay for and have police, fire department, marine unit, etc.  is to be able to respond in cases like this.

      As far as I know, it was not their fault there were problems with the boat.  I, for one, am glad they are safe.

      It’s like a strata:  the group pays for things that will benefit the group and having the ability to save the lives of people in my community (I feel) benefits the group.

      If that were you, I expect you’d insist on paying the full cost so that the community would not be bothered with the hassle and cost of saving your life?

    • Anonymous says:

      Why dont you talk facts instead of fiction. What makes you think the police tows anybody for free.

  9. Anonymous says:

    "It is understood that the police helicopter is currently in the US undergoing maintenance."  And the point is?  When it comes back, you’ll be able to say " the helicopter is not on maintenance and was flying" for every report

    "The owner contacted ………… Cayman Islands Helicopters, which he engaged to carry out a search of the area."  Good to know someone made a profit out of others misfortune.  Shame they didn’t find anything, but there again, they haven’t any specialist equipment, so why would they?

    • Anonymous says:

      Hmm, an interesting insight into your views… a few things though. The passage doesn’t clarify if ‘he’ engaged the Police or cayman Islands helicopters. But, given the shocking way that the owner of the helicopter was treated by the RCIPS, he could easily have said ‘no, go find it yourself’. Was he paid? You don’t even know. Maybe you mean that the police profited from the search effort (more likely). Either way, a poorly thought out comment.

      Even if the RCIPS flying white elephant was here, with a 3hr 35min mission endurance (without ferry tanks), would it have been any good for the task at hand? With a 325 mile range, it could have made it out to the spot and back, but factor in loiter time, and it may not even have made it….

      Know your facts my friend, the point is, the little speck that is the cayman islands couldn’t complete the task. The good old US of A had to step in and help.

      • Anonymous says:

        The good old US of A always step in – and so they should.  They are the ones that want to police the world.

        • Anonymous says:

          There is no attitude so vile as the attitude of an ingrate. Perhaps thanks to the US is in order.

          But don’t worry I don’t expect it from you.

      • Anonymous says:

        Nice.  As an American, let me just say that your little smart xxx comment is exactly the kind of dumb xxxx that has given us a poor reputation the world over.


      • Eyes Wide Shut says:

        "Know your facts my friend"…..I could not agree more. I am a firm believer that we should give credit where credit is due, and to properly do this we MUST HAVE THE FACTS. Here are the facts in regards to this report, and anyone with any doubt can make their own inquiries for confirmation.

        The report of a vessel in distress was first received by the Port Security Officers on duty who immediately contacted 911. The vessels position at that time was 20 miles off South West Point. 911 then informed Port Security that The Marine Unit could not respond because it was too rough to go thru the channel. Port Security then made contact with a small commercial fishing boat, "Real McCoy" that was enroute to George Town and would be passing near the vessels last known position in about 2 hours, and asked them to keep an eye out for the vessel. The owner of the "Miss Ester" informed the Marine Unit that the Real McCoy would be assisting and would keep them informed. Port Security remained in contact with the Real McCoy and passed on the information to 911.

        Several hours later the Real McCoy contacted Port Security and informed them that they were approximately 5 miles from Miss Ester’s last position but had not seen anything yet. A member of the public then contacted Port Security and informed them that taking into consideration the wind speed, wind direction andthe currents, Miss Ester would have drifted approximately 3-4 miles SW of the last position. Once again this information was passed on to the Marine Unit and then on to the Real McCoy.Unfortunately, the Real McCoy, who was also running low on fuel, was not able to locate the distressed vessel and eventually made their way to George Town.

        By morning the Marine Unit contacted the US Coast Guard who rendered assistance by sending an aircraft to search for the missing vessel. Port Security staff heard the Coast Guard calling a vessel on vhf channel 16 and immediately realized they were  trying to contact the Miss Ester but were calling "sailing vessel Miss Ester instead of fishing vessel "Miss Ester". Port Security then established contact with the USCG aircraft and also USCG Key West and remained in contact with them through out the morning. At approximately 11:15 the USCG aircraft contacted Port Security and informed them that they had located the vessel but was unable to establish any contact with the crew. Port security immediately informed the owner of the news and at this time made contact with a vessel that was in the area, "African Lion", and asked them to alter their course and remain with the "Miss Ester" until help arrived. Arrangements were then made for a cruise ship tender, the "Carib Temptress" to tow the stricken vessel back to George Town.

        The "Carib Temptress" departed and was in constant contact with Port Security and at 4pm informed Port Security that they had reached the "Miss Ester" and were making preperations to begin the tow back to George Town. This information was once again passed on to the owner of Miss Ester by Port Security. At 10pm the "Carib Temptress" arrived in George Town with the "Miss Ester" in tow.

        I am extremely glad that this incident ended with no loss of life, and i am sure the owner of the vessel and it’s crew feel the same way. Although the operation had a "good" ending, it points out several issues/questions in regards to the Marine Unit’s capabilities and to the correct distribution of "facts" by the RCIP press officer.

        1. After constantly bragging about the competency of the Marine Unit, the number of vessels they have and the compliment of officers, why were they not in a position to respond to this incident when it first happened? At 5pm Friday the "Miss Ester" was only 20 miles from South Sound but the Marine Unit said they could not respond because it was too rough to get out of the channel?? A 65′ long range vessel fully equipped with towing gear, a 48′ patrol boat, old faithfull, "Protector", a 38′ patrol boat also fully equipped, 2 x 36′ patrol/pursuit boats similarally equipped and a 24′ rhib patrol boat and none of those could render assistance?? Are these vessels operational or have the been damaged and are out of service?

        2. The press release states that "in an operation coordinated by the RCIPS"……..Unfortunately, the persons who should be thanked and praised for the safe rescue of the vessel and its crew were not mentioned at all. The Officers of the Port Security are the ones that really coordinated the search and stayed in constant contact with the distressed vessel, the owner, the "Real McCoy", USCG, "African Lion" and "Carib Temptress". Port Security passed on all the information then to 911 and to the Marine Unit.

        The USCG once again has stepped up to the plate and assisted us and saved the lives of 3 persons that experienced something that i am sure they will never forget. The unfortunate thing, is that this could have all been avoided and those 3 crew would have not had to endure 29 hours of hell had the Marine Unit did their job. If the weather was too bad to go through the channel why couldn’t they launch one of their boats in town and respond while the vessel was just 20 miles off shore instead of relying on a small inadequately equipped fishing boat, which was having its own issues?

        Maybe if the weather was flat calm, the boat was a little closer and the crew had called 911 and said he was drifting with a load of drugs, guns, and Spanish women on board the Marine Unit would have responded immediately. But in this case they chose to rely on others and just sit back and take the credit.

        "Good job" to everyone, especially Port Security for doing your job and playing a very important role in bringing this incident to a succesfull and happy conclusion.


        • Businessman says:

          Excelent post.

          Have heard of similar situation on a fishing tournament weekend day on 12mile bank on dead flat day and  they couldn’t assist, boat out of commission. Somebody needs to launch a serious investigation into this unit.

          As to whether the towed back person should pay or not, I’ve no issues them paying the cost of tow back, but they are never available and end up having to rely on a samaritan or somebody that tries to make it big out of the tragedy of another person. I don’t want to imagine what the carip temptress charged…., I heard they quoted 5000ci to tow back a 30footer from 12 mile banks (yes, 3 zeros, not a mistake)


        • Anonymous says:

          Thank you for the detailed information you have provided. I am the wife of the captain and I was going to give some facts but you did it better than I could have ever do.

          also the owner of the boat did pay for the fuel and you are right the credit should go out to the port authority because every call I got it was from them passed on to the owner and then he called me.

          All I say is thank you to everyone who did their part on bring my husband, his brother and my cousin safely. This could have gone totaly wrong and three families would have….all can say is thank God things turn out the way it did.

          sometimeswhen people, even me make comments you dont know who is reading it, so we really need to be careful, also the owner is going to pay for some of the services, etc bring in the boat.

        • Jonathan says:

          To the author of "Know your facts my Submitted by Eyes Wide Shut (not verified) on Sun, 03/20/2011 – 23:47. I believe that your comments are biased XXXXX I say it was a great effort by all and congratulate all for a job well done. It ended in a good way. To those who want to critize, i say this. Know the FACTS BEFORE you open your mouth, and just don’t open your mouth, get up off your high horse and actually do something for the betterment of the Island (for free). To those who can’t i say "it figures" Jonathan Ebanks WB

        • Pending says:

          Got it in a nutshell. I was out on the water that night and listened to it all go down on the radio.

    • Anonymous says:

      Who are you to answer like that?????????????

      If you don’t know what you’re talking about it is best to keep such ignorance to yourself!

      Thank you.