Mayday, distress beacon prompt rescue of three fishermen off Saipan

USCG Cutter Assateague - File Photo

GUAM – Three crewmembers aboard a 42-foot U.S.-flagged fishing boat are safe after Coast Guard Sector Guam received a distress signal from the vessel, prompting a search and rescue Tuesday.

 

Coast Guard watchstanders were notified by Saipan Emergency Management Office on Wednesday of a mayday call received at about 8 a.m. Shortly after being notified, an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon signal was received from the fishing vessel San Antonio approximately 65 miles off the northern tip of Saipan.

The Coast Guard Cutter Assateague, a 110-ft patrol boat homeported in Apra Harbor, Guam was dispatched to the location. Additionally, a crew from the U.S. Navy Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 25, stationed at Andersen Air Force Base was launched at about 9 a.m.

HSC-25 located the disabled vessel just after 11 a.m. Fighting strong wind gusts, the aircrew hoisted all three crewmembers and returned them safely to Saipan before 1 p.m. The survivors had no injuries and were released to the Saipan Department of Public Safety.

The crew of the San Antonio was on a fishing trip heading toward a fishing area in Zealandia Bank. The vessel was registered in Saipan. The fishing vessel was anchored and unable to start their engines when the wind and seas in the area began to increase significantly. A small craft advisory was issued on Tuesday and remained in effect through Wednesday afternoon.

The Coast Guard recommends all mariners carry an EPIRB and ensure their VHF marine radio is operational. These tools are essential for notifying authorities of a maritime emergency. Mariners are asked to make early contact with emergency officials and report all marine emergencies to the Coast Guard Sector Guam Command Center at 671-564-USCG.

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