First African-American to row across Atlantic Ocean sets a new course
Victor Mooney of Queens, New York and his family returned last week from a successful ten day visit to the Republic of Equatorial Guinea. The Head of State, His Excellency, Obiang Nguema Mbasogo decorated Mr. Mooney with Medal Caballero, gave nationality for his family and one house in Oyala. Oyala is a city that is being built to be the future capital, replacing the city of Malabo.
After three failed transatlantic rowing attempts in a ten year period, Mr. Mooney finally completed his journey on a fourth try. The Republic of Equatorial Guinea sponsored Mooney’s custom Brazilian made ocean rowboat – the Spirit of Malabo, which is slated to be donated to the United Nations later this year as symbol for the global fight against AIDS.
In 2009, Mooney’s homemade boat sunk moments after leaving Goree Island, Senegal; in 2011, the second boat watermaker didn’t work so the mission was aborted less than three hundred miles offshore from Goree Island; in 2012, Mooney’s third boat took on water, which caused him to deploy a life raft. He was rescued by a dry-bulk container after surviving fourteen days in the open ocean, which brought him to Brazil.
Mr. Mooney’s successful twenty-month journey began from Las Palmas, Canary Islands, which is located off the northwest coast of Africa on February 19, 2014. Mooney made landfall one hundred and thirty days later in Sint Maarten on June 26. After boat repairs, Mooney continued to British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey and ending at New York’s Brooklyn Bridge on November 30, 2015. His row was in memory of his brother who died of AIDS and to encourage voluntary HIV testing.
Along the way, Mr. Mooney faced numerous obstacles. He lost eighty pounds, shark damage his boat, pirated near Haiti and hit a submerged cypress stump in North Carolina en-route to New York.
Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) coordinated the shipping logistics of the Spirit of Malabo from Port of Santos, Sao Paulo, Brazil to Port of New York. After training and custom fabrication work, Maersk Line sent the ocean rowboat to Las Palmas, Canary Islands for the start of Victor Mooney’s transatlantic row.
Tracking and Satellite Communication Support
SPOT LLC, a subsidiary of Globalstar, Inc, sponsored tracking for the Spirit of Malabo with a SPOT Gen3 unit. This feature allowed Mr. Mooney to let his family, friends and support team to know that all is OK with a pre-programmed message along with his GPS location. With a push of a button a message was sent via email to 10 pre-determined contacts.
Weatherdock AG sponsored an easyTRX2 AIS unit. AIS is a broadcast transponder system, operating in the VHF maritime mobile band. It is capable of sending and receiving ship information such as identification (MMSI), position, course, speed and more, to other ships and to shore.
Globecomm Maritime, a leading provider of maritime communications solutions kept Victor Mooney connected during his attempt to row single-handed across the Atlantic.
“A significant part of the next chapter in my life will be assigned to aiding the vision of His Excellency, Obiang Nguema Mbasogo via the Horizonte 2020 Development Plan. I will remain a staunch advocate for the fight against AIDS and share the message to never give up”, said Victor Mooney.
Mr. Mooney is also allocating some quality time for his memoir on the four rowing attempts.