Coast Guard cutter rescues three adrift for more than 20 hours off Guam

HAGATNA, Guam — The crew of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Assateague rescued three men, Saturday, March 7, from an 18-foot vessel that had been disabled and adrift for more than 20 hours.

The three men had set out from Hagatna aboard the Anastasia and became disabled on a transit from Hagatna Boat Basin to Rota yesterday. The vessel with three men on board was located 22 nautical miles northwest of Ritidian Point and was drifting to the west.

Operating in seas that were reported to be larger than 10 feet and in 22-knot winds, the Assateague crew launched a small boat to pull off the hazardous rescue of the three men.

Lt. James Jarnac, the Assateague’s commanding officer, reported the situation was very hazardous and the risks involved in the rescue were high. When describing the situation back to the Coast Guard’s 24-hour command center in Apra Harbor, he said, “when running into the seas, we are taking green water over our bow on nearly every swell.”

The Assateague crew arrived on scene during last night and located the disabled vessel, but waited until daylight to begin the the rescue. Three hours later, the men were safely aboard the 110-foot patrol boat.

The Assateague is due back to Apra Harbor Saturday afternoon.

The success of this search and rescue effort can be attributed to the implementation of an affective float plan that was left with family members who alerted the Coast Guard when Anastasia had not arrived in Rota as planned yesterday, said Coast Guard search and rescue controller Lee Putnam from Guam.

Credit can also be give to the boats’s owner who was prepared for the trip with necessary safety equipment, including flares and a VHF radio. The VHF radio became a lifeline for the vessel as it drifted out of the cellular phone coverage area. Early notification by the family and good radio communication made the task of locating Anastasia a simple one, Putnam said.

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