SANTA RITA, Guam—U.S. Coast Guard, Air Force, and Federated States of Micronesia responders rescued an overdue fisherman aboard his 19-foot skiff 55 miles west of Ant Atoll last Monday.
The joint operation began on Saturday when the Pohnpei Fire Department began searching for the fisherman after he failed to return from collecting mangroves south of Pohnpei.
“This case is a testament to the importance of our strong relationships throughout the Indo-Pacific region,” said Capt. Nick Simmons, commander, Coast Guard Sector Guam. “Through coordination with our partners in the Federated States of Micronesia, and our fellow service members from the Department of Defense, we were able to bring this case to a positive conclusion. Thank you to everyone who contributed to the successful outcome of this search and rescue case.”
At 11:17pm, Saturday, Coast Guard Sector Guam watchstanders received a report from the Pohnpei Fire Department detailing the situation. The fisherman had last been seen at 5pm near Ros Island.
Sector Guam coordinated with the Federated States of Micronesia National Police and the U.S. Embassy in Kolonia to formulate a response and issued a SafetyNet broadcast, while Joint Rescue Coordination Center Honolulu coordinated with the Air Force 36th Wing Command Post at Andersen Air Force Base for aircraft support.
The FSS Micronesia and FSS Independence were deployed to the search area while a Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point HC-130 Hercules aircrew from Hawaii and an Air Force P-8 Poseidon aircrew from Kadena Air Force Base were dispatched to assist.
At 3pm on Monday, the P-8 Poseidon aircrew spotted a vessel matching the description of the fisherman’s skiff while conducting their search pattern. The crew of the FSS Micronesia was diverted to investigate while the P-8 remained overhead.
Once on-scene, the crew of the FSS Micronesia confirmed the person aboard the vessel was the missing fisherman. They recovered him, placed his skiff in tow, and safely returned him to Pohnpei. (PR)