Search called off for vessel reported to be ‘in distress’; skipper being questioned by police

The U.S. Coast Guard had launched a search for the vessel, a search that went on past noon and involved the Navy and the Air Force.

The U.S. Coast Guard this afternoon called off its search for a man who called for help on the VHF Marine Band radio this morning saying he was aboard a vessel in distress.

The man and the boat he was in made it safely back to shore, although the vessel apparently did not belong to him and the Coast Guard referred any further questions about the incident to Guam police.

U.S. Coast Guard Command Duty Officer Lee Putnam says the distress call came in just after 7 a.m. this morning.

The man reported that he was about 12 miles west of the entrance to Apra Harbor and his vessel was “dead in the water.”  Communication was lost soon thereafter.

Sunday afternoon Officer Putnam confirmed the search was called off after they learned that the man and the vessel managed to make it to the Hagatna Boat Basin after experiencing engine trouble soon after leaving Apra Harbor.

During the first two hours of the more than 6-hour search a 45-foot U.S. Coast Guard fast-response cutter recovered 3 life-vests in the area north of the Glass Breakwater where the distress call originated.

About 9:30 a.m. one of the choppers from the Navy’s Helicopter Sea Combat 12 squadron was called in to assist, along with an Air Force twin engine C-12.

Officer Putnam said the boat was owned by Atlantis Guam, which operates a submarine tour out of Apra Harbor.

When asked whether the boat had been stolen, Officer Putnam referred PNC News to the Guam Police Department.

GPD has not yet responded to a request for comment.