Guam – About 5 p.m. Sunday, U. S. Coast Guard Sector Guam received a call from the Rota Department of Public Safety reporting a possible disabled vessel in the vicinity of Rota. The call came after the vessel JP, a 25-foot recreational boat with four people aboard, contacted Rota’s 911 service via a cellular telephone requesting immediate assistance.
The cell phone call quality was poor, but Rota DPS officials were able to obtain the vessel’s name, length, general location, and nature of distress before the call was dropped. Navy Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 25 was launched immediately to locate the vessel before sundown. The U. S. Coast Guard Cutter ASSATEAGUE, a 110-foot patrol boat homeported in Guam, also was dispatched to assist.
The Coast Guard Sector Guam Command Center worked with Rota DPS and local cell phone provider iConnect to help narrow the search area by focusing on the tower that received the call. This allowed the Coast Guard search and rescue coordinators to narrow the search area, directly contributing to HSC-25 locating the distressed vessel quickly. Once HSC-25 identified the boat in distress, the helicopter crew was able to direct the cutter ASSATEAGUE to the boat.
All four mariners were transferred to the cutter ASSATEAGUE, and the vessel JP was towed to Rota, where the vessel and its crew were turned over to Rota DPS. All four people onboard the vessel JP were found safe and had no medical issues.
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, or by calling (671) 564-USCG. The Coast Guard reminds mariners to always file a float plan.