ATLANTIC OCEAN – On January 5, 2022, the United States, Spain and Morocco collaborated to rescue 103 migrants 40 nautical miles west of the Moroccan coast.
Late Tuesday evening, the Spanish rescue coordination center in Las Palmas received reports of two migrant rafts taking water with people possibly in the water.
The Spanish center coordinated rescue efforts with ships closest to the reported raft location. Three US Coast Guard ships, Famous Class USCGC Thetis (WMEC 910), Sentinel Class USCGC Glen Harris (WPC 1144) and USCGC Emlen Tunnell (WPC 1145), and a nearby Royal Moroccan Navy frigate have answered the call.
Working together, the crews rescued 103 migrants and picked up two migrants who died early Wednesday morning. Once on board safely and stabilized, US Coast Guard crews transferred all migrants to the Moroccan Navy.
“While we are currently under escort, the US Coast Guard will still conduct our primary search and rescue mission and respect international law of the sea and maritime customs to assist mariners in distress,” said Cmdr. Justin Nadolny, commanding officer of USCGC Thetis (WMEC 910). “This demonstrates Thetis’ ability to work with partners and our ability to respond quickly to any situation. I am very proud of the team.
The U.S. Coast Guard conducts a routine deployment to the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations, working alongside Allies, enhancing maritime domain awareness and sharing best practices with partner nation navies and coast guards . These operations coincide with the escort of Sentinel-class cutters across the Atlantic en route to their new home port of Manama, Bahrain, and the work of the cutters for US Patrol Forces in Southwest Asia under the 5th Fleet of the US Navy and the US Central Command.
“The rescue of over 100 people in the Atlantic demonstrates the agility and reach of US navies across Africa and Europe,” said Captain Kyle Gantt, commander of Task Force 65. “The Timely coordination of the US Coast Guard with Spanish authorities and the Moroccan Navy shows the power of integration with our international partners at sea.
The United States Coast Guard remains operational during COVID-19, following all COVID-19 safety precautions and regulations.
The U.S. Sixth Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners, to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa. Based in Portsmouth, Virginia, the US Coast Guard Atlantic Zone oversees all Coast Guard operations east of the Rocky Mountains to the Persian Gulf. In addition to surge operations, they also affect vessels to work with partner orders.