Coast Guard searching for missing mariners in the Marshall Islands

Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules file photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Matthew West)

Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules file photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Matthew West

HONOLULU — Coast Guard search crews are aiding Joint Rescue Coordination Center Fiji in two search and rescue missions off Kiribati, Sunday.

An Air Station Barbers Point HC-130 Hercules aircrew began conducting search patterns Sunday morning.

At 8:57 p.m., Thursday, JRCC Honolulu watchstanders received agency assist requests from JRCC Fiji for three overdue mariners on a 15-foot wooden skiff off of Kiribati. JRCC Honolulu received a second agency assist request on Saturday for one mariner on a disabled 20-foot wooden skiff approximately 150-miles from the first search location.

“One of the largest challenges we face when conducting search and rescue missions in the Pacific is the overall size of the area,” said Lt. Diane French, command duty officer for JRCC. “It’s through our partnerships with local, regional, and international agencies that we are able to cover more ground and increase our chances of saving a life.”

Aircrews staged their search operations out of Kwajalein after following Fiji Ministry of Health COVID-19 safety precautions.

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