PACIFIC OCEAN - The guided-missile destroyer USS Nitze (DDG 94) provided aid to mariners aboard a distressed Ecuadorian fishing vessel about 200 nautical miles off the coast of Ecuador July 20.
While on routine patrol, an embarked MH-60S Sea Hawk, assigned to Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 60 (HSM 60) spotted the mariners waving in distress. The vessel comprised of 28 mariners was in formation towing 10 additional vessels.
Upon establishing bridge-to-bridge communication, the Nitze realized the crew was critically low on food and had exhausted their drinking water.
Nitze deployed its rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB), and provided water, food and warm meals for the crew. All crewmembers were assessed to be in good condition.
“We share a common bond with all mariners at sea,” said, Cmdr. Don Curran Nitze’s commanding officer. “We were in the right place at the right time. It’s always a great day when we can assist others and they were extremely grateful.”
U.S. and coalition forces have a long-standing tradition of helping mariners in distress by providing medical assistance, engineering assistance and search and rescue efforts.
USS Nitze is deployed to the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility to support Joint Interagency Task Force South’s mission, which includes counter illicit drug trafficking in the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific.
U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet supports U.S. Southern Command’s joint and combined military operations by employing maritime forces in cooperative maritime security operations to maintain access, enhance interoperability, and build enduring partnerships in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American region.