Boating Safety rescues Sakman crew; tows canoe back to Saipan


The Department of Public Safety Boating Safety Section launched on Thursday night its Zodiac boat from Saipan and safely rescued the six crewmen of the Chamorro Sakman after the Guam-bound traditional canoe struggled with large waves and strong currents between Saipan and Tinian.

DPS acting spokesman Sgt. Jason Tarkong said Saipan Boating Safety Section made contact on Friday at 11:50pm with the six passengers and transferred them to the Zodiac rescue boat.

All six were uninjured.

Tarkong said Tinian Boating Safety Section officers also responded and assisted by towing the Sakman canoe back to Smiling Cove Marina on Saipan.

The canoe was docked at Smiling Cove on Friday at 4:09am.

On Thursday at 10:43pm, DPS Central received an emergency call on the Sakman sailing canoe requesting for assistance.

Tarkong said the canoe was taking on water as a result of large rogue waves and strong current approximately 4 miles west of Agingan Point between Saipan and Tinian.

The Sakman, led by master traditional navigator Tony Piailug, arrived on Saipan shores after a four-day voyage from Guam last April 21, making it the first voyage from Guam in 200 years using the traditional Chamorro canoe.

The Sakman crewmembers were welcomed last April 23 during a ceremony at the last day of the annual Flame Tree Arts Festival at the Garapan Fishing Base.

As of yesterday afternoon, the Sakman arrived on Rota.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at

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