Coast Guard and AMVER partners assist vessel in distress

PACIFIC OCEAN -- The distressed sailing vessel, Currandera, waits for help 276 miles north from Christmas Island, Republic of Kiribati Nov. 20, 2010. Coast Guard C-130 Hercules search and rescue crews, from Air Station Barbers Point, keep watch as they wait fort the Automated Mutual Assistance Vessel Rescue partners to assist the distressed sailing vessel. U.S. Coast Guard photo. HONOLULU – Coast Guard search and rescue crews and Automated Mutual Assistance Vessel Rescue partners assisted a vessel in distress 276 miles north from Christmas Island, Republic of Kiribati, Monday.

Coast Guard watchstanders at the Joint Rescue Coordination Center Honolulu received a 406 megahertz personal locating beacon alert, at approximately 1 p.m. Saturday, from the sailing vessel Currandera.

A Coast Guard aircrew from Air Station Barbers Point launched an HC-130 Hercules aircraft to locate and rescue the mariners.

The master of the Currandera reported that his sail was demasted and only had 12 hours of fuel remaining.

JRCC search and rescue coordinators issued a radio broadcast asking for any AMVER vessels in the area to assist. The fishing vessel, Insong, was first to offer assistance, but the AMVER vessel crew, Hoegh Kobe, who had a faster response time, said they would respond.

The Hoegh Kobe crew arrived on scene approximately 4:15 p.m. Sunday and delivered 58 gallons of diesel fuel and 1 can of lube oil.

The Coast Guard C-130 aircraft also dropped a dewatering pump.

“What really saved this man’s life this weekend was his planning readiness,” said Lt. Eric Leese, a search and rescue controller with the JRCC. “After his Personal Locating Beacon went off and we called the phone number it was registered to, his step-mom answered and told us to call his updated number.”

The Currandera is currently in route to Fanning Island on its own engine power.  The JRCC will maintain communications with the Currandera during the transit.

“Because of his voice mail and the detailed float plan, we were able to quickly locate him and determine the best plan of action to assist him,” said Leese. “His voice mail contained all the necessary information, we as responders need.”

“We cannot over stress the importance of filing a float plan and having the right survival equipment,” said Rear Admiral Charles Ray, Commander Fourteenth Coast Guard District.  “In this case, the mariner’s planning enabled us to engage our AMVER partners to provide assistance and avoid what otherwise could have been a tragic voyage.”

The weather conditions are reported to be five-foot seas.

No injuries have been reported.

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 identify participating ships in the area of distress and divert the best-suited ship or ships to respond. For more information about AMVER, please visit www.amver.com

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