U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Saipan International Airport arrived dockside at the seaport to assist the 24 crewmembers who were rescued from their cargo vessel when it began to take on water.
On Jan. 20 the cargo vessel Rich Forest began taking on water when it was approximately 420 nautical miles west of Guam. The U.S. Coast Guard responded and rescued the vessel’s crewmembers as they began to abandon ship on Jan. 22.
On Jan. 24 the crewmembers arrived on Saipan and were met by CBP officers, agents from Homeland Security Investigations, and members of the U.S. Coast Guard. All crewmembers were in good health and no injuries were reported.
CBP granted each crewmember with a humanitarian parole allowing them to remain on Saipan until their travel arrangements could be finalized. CBP officers on Saipan also assisted with arranging transportation of the crewmembers to a local hotel where they could rest and await their flight home.
“CBP’s ability to work in tandem with different agencies and respond to emergency situations plays an important role in ensuring that help is available during these types of events,” said Rene Masculino, CBP’s port director of the Saipan port of entry.
All crewmembers were able to depart Saipan and fly home on Sunday, Jan. 26. (USCBP)