Guam – The U.S. Coast Guard is actively searching for a missing 28 foot fiberglass skiff reported to have fifteen passengers on board, 6 children and 9 adults. The skiff was last seen leaving the northern pass of Chuuk lagoon on Monday on a voyage to Ruo Island, approximately 60 nautical miles northeast, which should have only taken six hours to complete. On Tuesday, Chuuk State Department of Transportation reported the vessel as overdue to Coast Guard Sector Guam.
Coast Guard Sector Guam is working closely with Chuuk State and Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) National government officials in coordinating a joint search plan that includes assets from both governments. Sector Guam has dispatched the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Assateague, a 110-ft Patrol Boat to join the search.
As of this morning, aircraft are also actively searching the area with life saving equipment on board that can be airdropped to the vessel. A HC-130 Hercules aircraft from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point, Oahu, Hawaii and a U.S. Navy P-3 Orion long-range search aircraft from Okinawa, Japan are currently searching an area covering over 3,500 square nautical miles.
Yesterday, Coast Guard Sector Guam Command Center contacted the only vessel in the immediate search area, the M/V ISLANDER. The vessel agreed to assist Sector Guam as the initial search asset, covering an area of approximately 200 square nautical miles by following the estimated route the skiff would have taken to reach Ruo Island. “This type of coordination with commercial vessel traffic makes immediate searches possible in a Search and Rescue area of responsibility that mirrors the size of the continental United States” noted Lieutenant Maye, Command Center Chief Sector Guam.
Mariners are reminded to maintain basic safety equipment on board their vessels and make reports of marine emergencies to emergency responders by contacting the Coast Guard Sector Guam Command Center on VHF Channel 16, or by calling 671-564-USCG