Coast Guard, Good Samaritan rescue distressed mariner for the second time

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 — The Coast Guard rescue coordination center in Honolulu, a C-130 Hercules aircraft crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point, and a Good Samaritan rescued a distressed mariner who was adrift 200 miles northwest of Christmas Island, Wednesday.

The master of the 43-foot sailing vessel Currandera suffered a catastrophic failure to his engine and re-activated his personal locating beacon while en route to Christmas Island. The initial trouble started Monday when his vessel was de-masted and running out of fuel.

Coast Guard watchstanders at the Joint Rescue Coordination Center here heard the beacon, and launched a Hercules aircrew to assist. The aircrew relocated the Currandera disabled and adrift and issued a marine information broadcast for any vessels in the vicinity to help.

Crewmembers aboard the fishing vessel Insung #88 responded and recovered the distressed mariner from his vessel. No injuries have been reported.

The extra fuel and oil was removed from the Currandera and the vessel is marked as a hazard to navigation. The Kiribati consulate was notified and the Coast Guard will continue to issue a broadcast notice to mariners.

“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.”

“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.” For audio of his detailed voicemail message, click here.

“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.”

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

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