Coast Guard, partners rescue missing mariners near Chuuk State

Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point HC-130 Hercules aircraft file photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Tara Molle.

Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point HC-130 Hercules aircraft file photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Tara Molle.

SANTA RITA, Guam — Coast Guard and partner agencies have rescued five adults and one child aboard a missing vessel near Etal Atoll in Chuuk State, Federated States of Micronesia, Tuesday.

At 6:00 a.m., Saturday, Coast Guard Forces Micronesia | Sector Guam watchstanders received a report of an overdue 19-foot vessel with six passengers on board. The vessel had left Namoluk Atoll the previous day for a 35-mile transit, but failed to arrive as planned in Etal Atoll in Chuuk State, Federated States of Micronesia.

Upon notification, watchstanders deployed multiple Coast Guard assets to search the area while also coordinating with local and federal partners.

“The Sector Guam Command Center did an excellent job communicating with interagency and international partners to put limited resources in the right location and at the right time, which is very difficult in these remote locations,” said Capt. Nicholas Simmons, the commander of Coast Guard Forces Micronesia | Sector Guam.

After a combined search effort of 9,521 miles, the crew of the merchant vessel Navigator located the missing vessel early Wednesday morning with all six people onboard. The missing vessel was located approximately 14 miles from its destination after they had run out of fuel in the midst of stormy weather.

The Navigator crew was able to provide fuel for the boat and all six passengers arrived safely in Etal. The Navigator is part of the Automated Mutual-Assistance Vessel Rescue program composed of volunteers from around the world who provide additional assistance during search and rescue operations.

Involved in the search:

  • USCG Forces Micronesia | Sector Guam’s Joint Rescue Sub-Center
  • An Air Station Barbers Point C-130 Hercules aircrew
  • The Coast Guard Cutter Oliver Henry
  • An Air Force KC-10 Extender aircrew
  • The merchant vessel North Star crew
  • The merchant vessel Navigator crew

The Coast Guard would like to remind the public of the importance of creating a float plan and ensuring proper safety equipment is aboard your vessel before departure. Safety equipment include, but are not limited to, life jackets, rescue whistle, strobe lights, emergency flares, electronic position indicating beacon, personal locator device, extra food and water.

For more information on boating safety, please visit https://www.uscgboating.org/.


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