STRAIT OF BALABAC, Philippines (NNS) -- Six local mariners from the Philippines were rescued from a sinking vessel May 30 by U.S. Navy personnel as ships from the Peleliu Expeditionary Strike Group (PELESG) transited the Strait of Balabac.
During the transit, Seaman Jonathan D. Dirst, a lookout on board USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52), reported a small semi-submerged vessel off the starboard beam. Pearl Harbor then notified other ships in the Peleliu Expeditionary Strike Group. Initial reports indicated one person in the boat waving clothing with several additional people in the water surrounding the vessel.
The nearby USS Dubuque (LPD 8) launched a rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB) under the direction of Ensign Thomas Knapp and Boatswain's Mate 3rd Class Chad Nevis, with a search and rescue swimmer and a local dialect translator on board. Five people were recovered immediately, followed by a sixth individual who was located in the water a short time later.
All six individuals were taken aboard Dubuque following the rescue and were given water, food and a change of clothing. The mariners were in good condition with no reported injuries and were later transported to Balabac Island.
It's believed the vessel originated from Lumbucan Island and was enroute to nearby Balabac Island before it began taking on water and capsized.
Lt. j.g. David Rubin was the battle watch captain in Peleliu's Joint Operations Center during the rescue.
"It was exciting to apply our training to a real world scenario. The collaboration that took place was excellent," Rubin said. "I think we all take pride in knowing that we assisted those in need and left a good name for the U. S. Navy."
"Today's event demonstrates that the Peleliu Strike Group has the flexibility under the U.S. Maritime Strategy to respond to whatever need or emergency arises," said Capt. Jon Padfield, Commander, Amphibious Squadron (COMPHIBRON) 3. "It also shows the commitment that our Sailors and Marines have for being compassionate world neighbors."
The PELESG is led by COMPHIBRON 3 and includes the flag ship, USS Peleliu (LHA 5), amphibious ships Dubuque and Pearl Harbor, the guided-missile cruiser USS Cape St. George (CG 71) and the guided-missile destroyers USS Halsey (DDG 97) and USS Benfold (DDG 65).
For more news from the Peleliu Expeditionary Strike Group, visit www.navy.mil/local/lha5/.