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A Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules airplane crew from Air Station Clearwater, Florida, and a British Royal Fleet Auxiliary Mounts Bay rescue helicopter crew coordinated the rescue of an adult female and two children from the vessel Ferrel in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria Thursday.  

A Dominican mother and her two boys were saved.

A Dominican mother and her two boys were saved.

Coast Guard watchstanders received an alert via emergency position indicating radio beacon and then a distress call on Sept. 20 from the Ferrel stating the boat was disabled and adrift in 20-foot seas and 100-knot winds.    

 South Florida newspapers reported that an unidentified man, 56, was found dead under the overturned hull. The rescue took place along the coast of Vieques, one of two islands comprising the "Spanish Virgin Islands" of Puerto Rico.

The man was described as British. The people rescued were his Dominican wife, 48, and their two 12-year-old boys.

 They sent out an emergency position alert Wednesday as Hurricane Maria was bearing down on the island, according to the Coast Guard. It was followed by a distress call saying the boat was disabled in high seas and 115 mph winds   

The boat in question, the Ferrel was was a NOAA research vessel decommissioned in 2002 and converted into a pleasure craft.


At 133 feet in length and displacing more than 450 tons, NOAA Ship Ferrel, was originally constructed to conduct tide and current surveys. In the mid-1980s, the vessel was converted to carry out coastal and estuarine research. Modified from the design for a boat that supplies offshore oil rigs, the Ferrel had twin screws and a bowthruster. These features greatly improved both the ship’s stability and maneuverability. carried a complement of three officers, eight crew members, and up to eight scientists.

Based in Charleston, South Carolina, the Ferrel worked throughout the year on projects along the coastal and inshore waters of the East and Gulf Coasts.Commisioned in June 1968, the Ferrel had an endurance of nine days at sea and a range of 1,200 nautical miles with a cruising speed of 10 knots. The Ferrel

This picture might be a clue: 

The NOAA Ferrel's bowthruster.

The NOAA Ferrel's bowthruster.