On April 6, NYK car carrier Heijin rescued four rowers, including a gold medal Olympian, in distress off the coast of Puerto Rico.
Heijin had departed from the U.S. port of Newark on April 4 for San Juan, Puerto Rico. At 7:28 a.m. local time on April 6, the vessel received a call from the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) indicating that three separate distress beacons had been activated near Heijin’s location and a nearby craft may have overturned or capsized, leaving those on board in distress.
The USCG requested Heijin to conduct a rescue operation, and close communication was maintained as Heijin rushed toward the beacons. A hand flare was sighted at 17:45 p.m., and around 18:00 p.m. a life raft was spotted. Heijin maneuvered toward it, and over the next hour the four rowers inside, all in good health, were lifted from life raft to the car carrier.
After the rescue operation, Heijin resumed its voyage to San Juan, where the four rowers were handed over to USCG officials.
The rowers had been rowing from Senegal to Miami as part of a scientific project sponsored by the Canadian Wildlife Federation.