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NEWS | Aug. 21, 2023

Military Sealift Command’s USNS Millinocket aids vessel in distress

By Grady Fontana, Military Sealift Command Far East

Military Sealift Command's (MSC) expeditionary fast transport USNS Millinocket (T EPF 3) rendered assistance to a distressed small leisure boat in the vicinity of Darwin, Australia, Aug. 8.

Millinocket was operating near Darwin, Australia, in support of Exercise Talisman Sabre 2023 (TS 23).

“Millinocket responded to a distress signal from a small leisure craft,” said civilian mariner Capt. Erwin F. Lao, USNS Millinocket’s master. “We were in transit when we received the distress message about four miles away from our position while underway. The location of the distress boat was about 35 miles off the coast, northeast from Port of Darwin.”

The signal was initially received by the Australian harbor patrol and Millinocket responded since it was only four nautical miles from the signal.

The team on the Millinocket maneuvered the vessel toward the distressed craft prior to launching its fast rescue boat.

Millinocket’s fast rescue boat, manned by MSC civilian mariners Boatswain Mate Casimer Nowakowski, 3rd Assistant Engineer Noah McNair and Able-Bodied Seaman Frank Watkins, rendered assistance to the small craft in distress.

The small boat, with its five occupants, was disabled for a few hours at sea.

Millinocket provided the small vessel with fuel and remained in its vicinity until the Australian authorities arrived.

The Millinocket is a 338-foot-long aluminum catamaran designed for rapid inter-theater troop transport and sea basing. The ship can transport about 600 tons of military troops, supplies and equipment for 1,200 nautical miles at an average speed of 35 knots on jet propulsion.

TS 23 is the largest bilateral military exercise between Australia and the United States advancing a free and open Indo-Pacific by strengthening relationships and interoperability among key allies and enhancing our collective capabilities to respond to a wide array of potential security concerns.

MSC Far East ensures approximately 50 ships in the Indo-Pacific Region are manned, trained, and equipped to deliver essential supplies, fuel, cargo, and equipment to warfighters, both at sea and on shore. U.S. 7th Fleet is the U.S. Navy's largest forward-deployed numbered fleet, and routinely interacts and operates with allies and partners in preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

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