Eight mariners aboard a 60-foot Indonesian-flagged fishing vessel KM Aleluya (previously reported as Hallelujar) were rescued about 172 miles northwest of Palau last Tuesday.
The rescue was a collaboration the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Air Force, and good Samaritans aboard the vessel Isl Star, which is part of AMVER, or Automated Mutual Assistance Vessel Rescue System.
“This is a great example of why teamwork is so vital to search and rescue operations in this region,” said Lt. Jonathan Girot, Sector Guam public affairs officer. “Through the efforts of the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Air Force, Japan Coast Guard, and good Samaritans, we were able to quickly locate the KM Aleluya and coordinate a response to a dangerous situation.”
The crew of the KM Aleluya was adrift for 10 days without electricity, food, and water. News of their predicament reached responders from the crew of the Japanese fishing vessel Kinsei Maru No.3 who rescued a KM Aleluya mariner. When the KM Aleluya crew saw the Kinsei Maru No.3’s lights on the horizon, they launched the motorboat with one man aboard to seek help.
The crew of the Kinsei Maru No.3 subsequently searched for the KM Aleluya but could not locate the vessel and departed due to worsening weather conditions. The rescued mariner stated there were no injuries or significant medical concerns among the KM Aleluya’s crew.
Sector Guam watchstanders issued a SafetyNet broadcast seeking the assistance of any mariners in the area and diverted the crews of the Coast Guard cutter Kiska from Palau and a forward-deployed Air Station Barbers Point HC-130 Hercules from Pohnpei to search. Watchstanders also contacted the U.S. Air Force for help who deployed a B-52 Stratofortress aircrew from the U.S. Air Force 36th Wing at Anderson Air Force Base, Guam, to assist.
“Because of the vast distances in the Pacific, often the closest help mariners have is each other,” said Girot. “Sector Guam watchstanders were able to contact the crew of the AMVER vessel Isl Star who agreed to assist in the search. Once the Hercules aircrew arrived on the scene, they quickly located the KM Aleluya and dropped supplies to the crew. They then coordinated with the good Samaritans from the Isl Star who rescued the eight mariners without further incident.”
AMVER, sponsored by the Coast Guard, is a computer-based, voluntary global ship reporting system used worldwide by search and rescue authorities. With AMVER, rescue coordinators can identify participating ships in the area of distress and divert the best-suited ship or ships to respond.
The crew of the Isl Star will disembark the KM Aleluya’s crew in Palau. The Kiska crew is currently en route to the abandoned ship’s location to investigate the situation and consider options for the future of the vessel. (USCG)