Guam – At 2:00 P.M. Wednesday afternoon, the overdue skiff was located with both mariners alive onboard approximately 60 nautical miles Northwest of Chuuk Island. A U.S. Marine Corps KC-130J Super Hercules aircraft from Marine Aircraft Group 12 spotted the skiff while conducting the search in coordination with Coast Guard Sector Guam. The aircrew and other marines who located the missing mariners volunteered for the search.
A liferaft containing an aviation radio, food, water, flares and signaling devices was dropped next to the skiff, while the mariners waited for a rescue vessel to arrive. At 4:40 P.M., M/V SOLAR AFRICA arrived on scene and took the mariners onboard. SOLAR AFRICA, a 623 ft. bulk carrier flying the Liberian Flag was spotted by the Marine aircrew during the search, and diverted as a Vessel of Opportunity to assist the mariners on the drifting skiff. A Chuukese fishing vessel is currently en route to transport the stranded mariners from SOLAR AFRICA to Chuuk Island.
At 3:17 P.M. on Tuesday, Coast Guard Sector Guam received a report from Federated States of Micronesia that a 23-foot skiff with two persons onboard was overdue from Nomwin Atoll to Weno, Chuuk Island. The two men, ages 24 and 32, departed Sunday morning, and were expected to complete their 69-mile trip that evening.
Vessels of Opportunity are a force multiplier for the Coast Guard and other maritime agencies, providing assistance when other suitable vessels are unavailable or at great distances from where waterborne support is needed.