TARPON SPRINGS, Fla. – A marine crew from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Air and Marine Operations, Tampa Marine Unit rescued two people from a disabled vessel off the coast of Three Rooker Island, near Tarpon Springs, Florida around midnight on July 24th.
The outlook was bleak for the occupants of the 19-foot boat (a Boston Whaler), as they drifted further out to sea with no food, water, radio capabilities or light. Waves were crashing over the back of the boat as a crew of Marine Interdiction Agents patrolling the area in a Midnight Express arrived on scene.
The agents noticed the vessel displaying improper navigation lights and made contact. The marine crew quickly determined that the vessel and the two people onboard were in distress.
After assessing their condition, agents brought the occupants onboard, and to avoid a marine safety hazard, towed the disabled vessel to a marina in Dunedin, Florida.
During their return to harbor, agents contacted the U.S. Coast Guard and received confirmation that the vessel had been reported missing as an overdue vessel for approximately five hours.
“It is always a high point when we are able to help those in need," said Allen Gustafson, Director, Marine Operations at the Jacksonville Air and Marine Branch. "It is a great reminder of the human aspect of what we do and why we do it. It is times like these, when we are able to reunite lost love ones with their families, that reaffirm our pride in what we are doing for our citizens."
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.