Coast Guard, partners rescue 2 fishermen from overdue fishing vessel off Tinian

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Myrtle Hazard (WPC 1139) rescued two fishermen aboard a 21-foot fishing vessel 128-miles west of Tinian, Dec. 1, 2020. The fishermen were located during a search involving the Coast Guard, Navy, Air Force, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Department of Public Safety, and volunteer vessels.

U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy of the Navy

The fishermen, missing since Thanksgiving morning, were located during a search involving the Coast Guard, Navy, Air Force, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Department of Public Safety, and volunteer vessels. Both fishermen were reported to be in good health.

“I’m very happy we were able to return two members of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands community to their families during this holiday season,” said Capt. Christopher Chase, commander, Coast Guard Sector Guam. “I would like to thank our interagency partners for their diligence and commitment to the search and rescue mission.”

On November 26, the Sector Guam Command Center received a report from Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Saipan stating the fishing vessel was overdue.

Sector Guam watchstanders issued an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast notice to mariners, arranged for air support from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point, and coordinated the search with local and federal partners.

Sector Guam watchstanders also diverted the Coast Guard Cutter Oliver Henry (WPC 1140), at the end of its 10,000 mile transit to its new homeport in Guam, to assist.

Involved in the four day search were:

- Coast Guard Sector Guam

- Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point HC-130 Hercules

- A Navy Command, Task Force 72 P-8 Poseidon

- Navy Helicopter Strike Squadron 25

- Coast Guard Cutter Oliver Henry

- Coast Guard Cutter Myrtle Hazard

- Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Department of Public Safety

- Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Homeland Security Emergency Operations Center

- Good Samaritans aboard two commercial vessels

- Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center Honolulu

On November 30, a Navy Poseidon aircrew from Japan was on the second leg of a search pattern provided by Sector Guam, when they located the missing fishing vessel 128-miles west of Tinian. The Poseidon crew then vectored in the crew of the Myrtle Hazard to conduct the rescue.

Once on scene, the crew of the Myrtle Hazard successfully transferred the two fishermen from their boat, verified their health, and gave them food and water.

“This case highlights the importance of telling someone where you will be on the water and when you will be expected to return — otherwise known as filing a ‘float plan,’" said Chase. "Having the required safety equipment such as life jackets and flares is also critical. Devices such as an Electronic Position Indicating Radio Beacon or EPIRB, available at most marine stores, make great gifts and can pinpoint a distressed mariner’s position within a few meters.”

Example float plans and required and recommended boating safety equipment are available on the free Coast Guard application (available for both iOS and Android devices) or by calling the nearest Coast Guard unit.

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