Guam – U.S. Coast Guard Sector Guam and Coast Guard Cutter Assateague, along with resources from Navy Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron-25, assisted a disabled fishing vessel 60 nautical miles north of Saipan on Monday, saving all three crewmembers onboard.
The rescue was initiated Sunday evening by Coast Guard Sector Guam after receiving a satellite Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) distress alert from about 60 nautical miles north of Saipan. Search and rescue coordinators at Sector Guam requested an HSC-25 helicopter crew to respond to the scene, where a 23-foot fishing vessel was found to be disabled and adrift because of electrical problems.
Coast Guard Cutter Assateague was launched from Apra Harbor, Guam, to assist the vessel, taking the crew aboard on Monday morning and towing the disabled vessel for the 6-hour trip to Saipan, where CNMI Department of Public Safety took over the tow and brought the vessel into Smiling Cove Marina.
“In this case, the use of an EPIRB supplied immediate notification and position information to the Coast Guard and was the difference between the vessel being adrift for hours rather than possibly days,” said Operations Specialist Second Class David Kissell, search and rescue case coordinator. The vessel was operating outside its VHF-FM radio range and without an EPIRB would have been unable to contact the Coast Guard, Kissell said.
The U.S. Coast Guard advises mariners to be aware of the effective range of their communications equipment and always have a means of notifying the Coast Guard in the event of distress, via VHF-FM Channel 16, by calling (671) 564-USCG, or through the use of a working and properly registered EPIRB.