Rescue of 17 in 2 days highlights importance of preparation

ALAMEDA, Calif. – Over the course of two days – from Wednesday to Thursday – Coast Guard crews, partner agencies and volunteers responding to three maritime emergencies rescued a total of 17 boaters in dire straits off the Alaska, California and Micronesia coasts.

All three cases highlight the importance of mariners properly equipping and training for survival at sea, as well as the value of government and industry partnerships.

Off the coast of Federated States of Micronesia, six people survived at sea and were found Thursday on a 24-foot skiff located 40 miles southeast of the Mortlock Islands after an eight-day search involving the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Navy, Federated States of Micronesia first responders, Caroline Islands first responders, and local good Samaritans.

The crew of a good Samaritan vessel, Nord Rubicon, rescued seven fishermen in a life raft 350 miles off the coast of Monterey, California, Wednesday after their 85-foot commercial fishing boat caught fire and became engulfed in flames. Multiple emergency position indicating radio beacon and personal locator beacon alerts immediately notified U.S. Coast Guard crews the vessel was in peril. Coast Guard watchstanders used the Automated Mutual-Assistance Vessel Rescue System to request help from nearby ships. The Nord Rubicon crew, located just 80 miles away, diverted from their course, retrieved the fishermen and took them safely to shore.

Wednesday, Coast Guard aircrews in Alaska rescued four fishermen after they abandoned their 53-foot fishing boat sinking 13 miles west of Cape Ommaney, Alaska. The Coast Guard Sector Juneau command duty officer for the rescue, Nicholas Meyer, credits their survival to their proper use of an EPIRB, VHF radio, survival suits, life raft and training.

“The safeguarding of lives at sea, particularly along our coastal waters and in support of our closest international partners, continues to be our highest priority,” said Vice Adm. Michael F. McAllister, commander Coast Guard Pacific Area. “This week’s impressive rescues demonstrate our resolve to be Semper Paratus – Always Ready. Thanks to the valuable relationships we’ve built with partner agencies, the valuable contributions of good Samaritans, and the focus these mariners had on ensuring they were ready for emergencies at sea, 17 people are alive today who may not otherwise be. This was a fitting tribute on Veteran’s Day yesterday, knowing the Coast Guard veterans who came before us laid the foundation for the incredible work our men and women do today.”

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