Guam -A search is currently planned for five people aboard the 38′ Catamaran sailboat “PINEAPPLE,” last seen departing the Marianas Yacht Club, January 6th, enroute to Cebu Island in the Philippines.
On Tuesday morning, January 18th, the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Guam Command Center received multiple reports from concerned family members regarding the sailboat’s transit from Guam to the Philippines. Although weather conditions make sail transits difficult to predict, the planned voyage was supposed to take seven to ten days, with the sailboat arriving in the Philippines no later than Sunday, January 16th.
Coast Guard Sector Guam responded by conducting an initial investigation interviewing all concerned parties about the planned route, provisions and life saving equipment aboard the sailboat, as well as communications and navigation equipment that were available to the crew. Search efforts have been hampered by the sailboat’s lack of reliable long-range communication equipment, such as a satellite telephone or Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB), which utilize satellite based technology to communicate with Search and Rescue personnel.
Sector Guam has actively pursued assistance from ships transiting the area. On Tuesday, the Coast Guard issued emergency radio transmissions that were sent to all commercial ships transiting the area asking them to be on the lookout and report any sightings of the sailboat. The Coast Guard has also dispatched a long-range fixed wing aircraft from Coast Guard Station Barbers Point in Hawaii to assist in the search effort. Sector Guam is also working closely with the Philippines Coast Guard, which is making preparations to search Philippine waters.
The sailboat “PINEAPPLE” is described as a 38′ twin-hulled catamaran with a white hull and white sails. The sailboat has five personnel onboard, all of whom are U.S. citizens.
The Coast Guard urges all vessels in the Philippine Sea to keep a sharp lookout, assist if possible, and report all sightings to the United States Coast Guard at 671-564-USCG.