Guam – The U.S. Coast Guard, Navy and international partners continue 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, a small island within the Murilo Atolls, approximately 70 nautical miles northeast of Chuuk.
After completing a voyage of over 480 nautical miles from Guam to the search area, Coast Guard Cutter Assateague has reached the search area where aircraft from both the Coast Guard and Navy have been searching since early Wednesday morning.
Search and rescue assets have been searching for approximately 35 hours and have combed over 9,300 square nautical miles of ocean. The search area consists of thousands of miles of open ocean, lagoons and small atolls, many of which are uninhabited. Local fishermen throughout the region have taken to the water to help as well as news spreads of the search.
In an effort to bring every available asset to the search, U.S. Coast Sector Guam utilized the Automated Mutual-Assistance Vessel Rescue (AMVER) system to identify commercial vessels in the area that could assist with the search. Höegh Asia, a 750-foot cargo ship and participating member of the AMVER program, responded to the request for assistance.
AMVER, sponsored by the United States Coast Guard, is a unique, computer-based, and voluntary global ship reporting system used worldwide by search and rescue authorities to arrange for assistance to persons in distress at sea. With AMVER, rescue coordinators can identity participating ships in the area of distress and divert the best suited ship or ships to respond.
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