Guam – Coast Guard and Navy search and rescue crews partnered to provide assistance to a local fisherman whose vessel began taking on water and quickly capsized 13 nautical miles off the coast of Guam, in the vicinity of Galvez Banks, south of Merizo.
On 10:21 am, Sunday 03 Mar, 2013, the fisherman made a radio call indicating that he was sinking; however this transmission was not made on a standard distress frequency. Fortunately, the distress call was received by a good Samaritan vessel which relayed the call to U.S. Coast Guard Sector Guam over VHF radio maritime distress channel 16.
The Coast Guard immediately dispatched a 45′ Response Boat – Medium (RB-M) from U.S. Coast Guard Station Apra Harbor and requested assistance from U.S. Navy Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron – 25 (HSC-25).
The Navy’s HSC-25 launched an SH-60 helicopter, which quickly arrived in the search area and identified a single individual on an overturned vessel. The helicopter crew utilized their rescue swimmer to recover the individual and transported him to Naval Hospital for evaluation.
The Coast Guard RB-M conducted an evaluation of the sunken vessel and determined it was unrecoverable.
Mariners are recommended to have a VHF-FM marine-band radio on board set to channel 16 to signal distress. Mariners in distress are just a call away from help, since the Coast Guard monitors channel 16 at all times. The Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 communications network provides emergency VHF reception within 20 nautical miles of Guam. Vessel safety checks can also be obtained for free by the Coast Guard Auxiliary.