'We don't see anything'

Jacksonville, FL

In the mid 80's I was aboard the Coast Guard cutter Salvia; she had just gone over major repairs, mainly to the boom and winch. We were off the east coast of Florida testing the boom. The ship had about 15 degrees of list and was trying to lift a lot of weight off the ocean floor, when we got a call in from the Coast Guard base about a vessel on fire and sinking in our vicinity. We looked around and reported no, we don't see any vessel. The base had the woman on the phone and she kept saying she was looking at it. After a while we figured out that she was seeing us - with the smoke from the generators and the list, we had to be us. So we turned the ship toward shore and asked the base to ask her, and she replied that yes, the stricken vessel was turning. The base told us her answer and we replied to base rescue complete that we were not on fire or sinking. And our captain was happy.

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