On Friday, Oct. 23, 2020, at about 5pm, the CNMI Department of Public Safety received a call regarding one overdue fisherman who left the Fishing Base marina at 5am that morning and was due to return at 1:30pm. The Emergency Operations Center was then immediately notified. At about 5:23pm, EOC made contact via VHF radio with the boat and learned that the vessel was experiencing engine problems. The captain of the vessel notified EOC that they were drifting near a buoy about 15 miles out of Marpi on Saipan.
At about 5:54pm, the DPS Zodiac rescue boat was launched followed by the Impact rescue boat. Officers aboard the rescue boats then saw flares from the distressed vessel. At about 7pm, the Zodiac arrived at the vessel’s location, followed by the Impact rescue boat shortly after.
The operator was asked if he needed any medical attention, to which he said he was okay and did not need any. The Impact rescue boat began towing the vessel back to shore while the Zodiac followed behind. All three vessels made their way into the Smiling Cove Marina and arrived safely at about 8:02pm.
Police learned that the operator left the Garapan Fishing Base by himself and headed north to fish around the Marpi Reef area. At around 12pm, while near the Banzai Cliff area, he began experiencing engine problems and tried to make an emergency call but could not get a signal from his cellphone. He continued to drift west until he made contact with EOC via VHF radio. EOC advised him to shoot a flare as two rescue boats were already out in the waters looking for his vessel. Once he shot the first flare, DPS rescue vessels managed to pinpoint his location before towing him into shore.
The vessel was inspected and was found to be in compliance with all safety equipment aboard.
We encourage boaters to notify friends and/or family members about your fishing route or what area you plan to be fishing and what time you expect to return. If you are having troubles out in the water call in to Channel 16 on your VHF radio when you need help, or if you would like to report a distressed vessel. If you would like to report a crime or an emergency please call 911 anytime. (PR)