June 03, 2013

By Office of Public Affairs
U.S. Coast Guard Sector Guam

The Kaselehlie Press

PACIFIC OCEAN - The U.S. Coast Guard in coordination with the U.S. Navy and the Motor Vessel Zeus Leader partnered to provide assistance to the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) National Police, rescuing five mariners from the Pacific Ocean, 110 nautical miles west of Chuuk Islands.

The mariners in distress originated their voyage on a 19 foot fiberglass skiff travelling from Nomosich, a small island west of Murilo Atoll, to Weno, Chuuk. Using a High Frequency radio, family members of the overdue mariners contacted the University of Guam Pan-Pacific Education and Communication Experiments by Satellite (PEACESAT) on Friday May 24, 2013 and indicated that the vessel had departed Nomosich at 4:00 pm Chamorro Standard Time (ChST) on May19, 2013 and were expected to arrive in Chuuk by sunset on the same day. PEACESAT notified the Coast Guard which diligently contacted FSM Authorities for more information. The FSM Agencies in accordance with their National Search and Rescue Plan, requested assistance from the U.S. Coast Guard in accordance with a long- standing Memorandum of Understanding under the Compact of Free Association.

The Coast Guard Rescue Coordination Sub-Center Guam requested long range aircraft support from the U.S. Navy's Fleet Logistic Support Squadron VR62, located in Jacksonville, Florida. The Coast Guard also identified and contacted a commercial cargo vessel, the Japanese flagged vessel ZEUS LEADER, who was transiting in the vicinity of the distress location, and requested their assistance. The vessel diverted from their course and maneuvered towards the distress position.

The crew of the U.S. Navy aircraft spotted the overdue skiff at 11:36 am ChST and vectored the ZEUS LEADER toward their location. The ZEUS LEADER then began the process of recovering all of the crew members. To conclude this successful search and rescue mission, the FEDERATED STATES SHIP PALIKIR will be meeting the commercial vessel at a predetermined location southwest of Ponhpei and will be transporting the rescued mariners to Chuuk.