The Coast Guard heroically rescues a colossal 252-pound loggerhead turtle, struggling to dive and feed, encrusted with burdensome growths

A 252-pound loggerhead turtle has been rescued and is now in rehab after it was found struggling in the waters off Delaware.

The crew of the 154-foot Lawrence Lawson, a fast response boat from the Coast Guard noticed that the turtle was covered in strange marine growths and was also having difficulty diving underwater for food and needed help.

A U.S. Coast Guard crew saved this loggerhead turtle, now named Tammie, a few miles from off the coast of Cape Henlopen, Delaware

A crew member aboard the 154-foot Coast Guard Cutter Lawrence Lawson assists a 252-pound loggerhead turtle, the crew named Tammie

‘The Coast Guard reported it directly to us, because it was in Delaware waters,’ said Suzanne Thurman, executive director of the Marine Education, Research and Rehabilitation Institute in Lewes said.

‘We sent a couple of our responders out to assist and oversee, and I gave instructions over the phone so that they could pick it up where they were. If the boat travels away from the turtle in the water, it becomes like a needle in a haystack.

‘We’re very fortunate that the Coast Guard saw it,’ Thurman said. ‘They did an amazing job, we were able to talk about how to safely get the turtle out of the water without causing inadvertent injury.’

The crew of the Lawson then contacted members of MERR and arranged to pick them up in order for them to take a closer look at the animal.

The turtle was taken off the boat and  brought to members of Sea Turtle Recovery, a wildlife rescue service based in New Jersey

Members of Sea Turtle Recovery toook Tammie the loggerhead turtle away for care and rehabilitation,. Due to the species’ weight, the rescue required two boats

‘Members of MERR and Sea Turtle Recovery knew right away that the turtle was sick because it was floating,’ said Petty Officer 1st Class Christopher Taylor. ‘They told us that if turtles can’t dive, they can’t eat, and if we hadn’t helped it, it would have slowly starved to death.’

The crew of the Lawson managed to use a cargo net to scoop the turtle on board where scientists and the Sea Turtle Rescue team were able to take a closer look providing it with care as they assessed its condition.

‘It was a unique experience and took a lot of coordination and teamwork to rescue the turtle and ensure it received the best possible treatment before being returned to its natural habitat,’ said Lt. Cmdr. Joseph Rizzo.

The turtle was notices to be in difficulty because it had trouble diving for food and had a strange growth on its back

‘It’s a great feeling for the crew to know that we had a part in saving an animal in jeopardy of becoming endangered.’

Scientists from Sea Turtle Rescue decided to  name the turtle Tammie.

‘The rescue was successful. The Coast Guard was an amazing help, they just are professionals on the water, they have the expertise to do something this involved and take the turtle back to the New Jersey side,’ Thurman said


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