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Amphib Assists Distressed Vessel

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A Virginia-based amphibious dock landing ship operating in the Virginia Capes Sept. 12, discovered and rendered aid to distressed sailing vessel.

During USS Ashland's (LSD 48) third day underway, following their midlife maintenance period, the crew spotted sailing vessel Primadonna while ensuring the safety of the area in order to conduct a gunnery exercise.

Upon contact, Primadonna responded with a distress call stating their depletion of food stores and fuel.

In less than an hour, USS Ashland deployed an 8-person boat team to provide the 3-person crew of Primadonna with two days of food, regional nautical charts, water and the diesel fuel necessary to transit safely to Norfolk. Upon receiving the supplies, the sailing vessel was able to transit under their own power and proceeded toward their destination.

The vessel was set adrift after encountering heavy weather from hurricane Leslie which damaged the mast of their main sail. Primadonna fought the rip currents until exhausting its fuel supply approximately two days prior to being discovered by USS Ashland. Primadonna was enroute to Norfolk after setting sail from Bermuda three weeks ago.

The crew of Primadonna consisted of two men and one woman from France. The language barrier between the French mariners and U.S. Sailors was overcome by USS Ashland Sailor, Petty Officer 2nd Class Nathan Morin-Klein, Timmins, Ontario, who speaks French Canadian.

USS Ashland is underway in support of contractor sea trials. Its mission is to conduct amphibious operations through transporting, launching and supporting assault landing craft, Marines and combat cargo to designated areas throughout the world.

Article by Ensign Mary Bennett, USS Ashland (LSD 48)