Coast Guard suspends search for missing mariner near Chuuk Atoll

Hawaii-Pacific Coast Guard News
SANTA RITA, Guam —The Coast Guard suspended the search for a missing crewman reported overdue on a skiff near the Chuuk Atoll, Sunday.

Crews from the Coast Guard as well as well as the Navy conducted an extensive search of the area, covering 6,214 square miles for approximately 128 hours before suspending efforts.

Involved in the search were an HC-130 Hercules airplane crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point, Oahu, a Navy P-8 airplane crew and a Navy P-3 airplane crew from the Kadena Air Base in Japan and various small boat crews from the Federated States of Micronesia.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Guam received a call Tuesday, from the Chuuk search and rescue liaison requesting assistance in searching for an overdue 19-foot skiff with four men aboard missing since Sunday.

The men departed Weno, Chuuk, and were en route Fananu Island, Hall Islands but never arrived at their destination. Their vessel began to take on water approximately four hours after departing.

As part of the AMVER program, the motor vessel’s Pro Emerald, New Stage and Nord Venus also assisted in the search.

The motor vessel, Nord Venus located three of the four male survivors approximately 23 miles north of Chuuk, Thursday.

“The suspension of our active search effort is always a difficult decision and is not made lightly,” said Lt. Cmdr. Joshua Blocker, a search and rescue mission coordinator at Coast Guard Sector Guam. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends and loved ones during this difficult time.”

The Coast Guard regularly coordinates with DoD, commercial vessels that are part of the AMVER program and international partners to conduct searches in the Pacific where extreme distances often limit the resources immediately available to respond.

AMVER, sponsored by the 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.

The 14th Coast Guard District encompasses an area of 12.2 million square miles of the Central and South Pacific. Coast Guard aircraft based in Hawaii frequently travel thousands of miles in response to search and rescue and other calls for assistance. The Hercules is scheduled to be replaced by the HC-130J, which will bring increased capabilities to Coast Guard response across the Pacific.

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