Employer: Esso International Shipping Company Limited
Trans-Global Maritime Agency
The Dogged Searcher
More often than not, heroism is a product of chance and pure luck. But not in the case of Capt. Conrado Ramirez and his crew at MT Esso Palm Beach, a 27,439-ton tanker which performed a mission of mercy on the night of April 24 to April 25, 1990.
As the tanker flowed through the chilly Atlantic Ocean, they received a distress call from the US Coast Guard directing them towards S/V Mirage, a 23-feet British yacht which was in grade danger after its masts broke. Like most calls of this nature, only approximates or estimated positions were given.
In the next 15 hours, the crew of Esso would conduct a sweeping search of the vast ocean. The first leg took eight hours, and no sight of the S/V Mirage.
There was no communication whatsoever. As evening crept the next day, the danger to the stricken craft mounted. The crew of Esso fired flares into the night, but strong gusts blew them low. Still they did not give up, and as last recourse, Capt. Ramirez ordered all deck lights illuminated. Fortuitously, Mirage spotted the glow 10 minutes later.
After 150 miles and 15 hours of non-stop search, the S/V Mirage was towed. To complete their effort, the Esso crew manoeuvred the craft to their side, and replenished their oil. According to the tanker’s management themselves, Capt. Ramirez and the Esso crew “displayed the highest qualities of dedication and excellence beyond the call of duty” unmindful of the consequent delay in the delivery of their shipment to consignees.