The two overdue fishermen who were reported missing by family members three days ago were found alive and well and returned home safely yesterday afternoon.
According to a press release from the Department of Public Safety, as of 3pm yesterday, search teams have confirmed that the two fishermen were found west of Saipan and Tinian. Both were reportedly alive and in good health.
Saipan Tribune learned from a source that the fishermen’s vessel had run out of fuel and they were stranded a little farther than where they had planned to fish.
Saipan Tribune reached out to DPS for additional information but there was still no further information as of 6pm press time.
DPS encourages boaters to notify friends and family members about fishing routes or which area they plan to go fishing, as well as their expected time of arrival. For fishermen who are having trouble out in the water, call into Channel 16 on the vessel’s VHF radio for help. Community members are also encouraged to report distressed vessels.
According to Saipan Tribune archives, DPS received a call at about 9am last Friday about two overdue fisherman who left the Garapan Fishing Base marina at about 5:30am on Thursday morning. The men were due to return on Friday morning.
Police learned from the callers, the fishermen’s spouses, that their husbands might be fishing around Goat Island and Tinian. The two fishermen left aboard a white, 21-foot, fiberglass boat named Sea Swirl, which is powered by a 150-horsepower, 4-stroke Yamaha engine.
The DPS Zodiac I rescue boat was launched at about 9:30am to search around the west side of Saipan as the DPS Impact rescue boat searched for the missing vessel at Marpi Reef, Goat Island, and Tinian. The U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Navy assisted the Coast Guard cutter Oliver Henry and the U.S. Navy Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 25 throughout the day.
During the search, the Impact rescue boat made contact with vessels that were fishing around the Esmeralda Reef and Coke Reef but the people aboard those boats stated that there were no other vessels out there. The Impact continued toward the west side of Tinian with no sighting of the vessel.
The search for the fishermen continued for three days, with the search ending on Day 3 with the men returned home safely.