Coast Guard, Navy searching for missing crewman off Christmas Island, Kiribati

Northern Edge 15HONOLULU — The Coast Guard and Navy are searching for a 43-year-old South Korean-man 63 miles south of Christmas Island, Republic of Kiribati, Thursday.

A Navy P-3 Orion airplane crew from Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, and a Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules airplane crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point, Hawaii, are searching for the crewman from the 260-foot fishing vessel Shilla Jupiter.

The Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Honolulu received notification from personnel at the Silla Company Corporation late Wednesday that the chief cook board the Shilla Jupiter was missing and was last seen the previous morning.

The vessel’s crew conducted an internal search of the vessel and searching the surrounding area with their embarked helicopter. The watchstanders at JRCC issued a SafetyNet broadcast over satellite communication systems alerting vessels in the area to the situation and requested the Marine Guard Kiribati continue to transmit the message over VHF, MF and HF frequencies. They also directed the launch of the Orion crew and later the Hercules crews.

“Searches in the remote parts of the Pacific are a challenge due to time and distance and we value the partnerships we have with search and rescue organizations around the region and the mariners,” said Lt. Nic Iannarone, the command duty officer at JRCC.

The Shilla Jupiter is a purse seiner flagged out of South Korea. Christmas Island is about 1,380 miles south of Oahu, or the same distance as flying from New York to Dallas.

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