SANTA RITA, Guam—A 15-year-old male aboard a 20-foot skiff was found after seven days at sea, 60 nautical miles northwest of Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia.
At 9:15am, on May 30, 2015, watch standers at U.S. Coast Guard Sector Guam’s Joint Rescue Sub-Center received a report from Pan-Pacific Education and Communication Experiments by Satellite (PEACESAT) Guam of a missing 20-foot skiff with a 15-year-old male aboard. The vessel reportedly drifted out to sea from Fayu Atoll in Chuuk, FSM on May 24, 2015. PEACESAT provides public service satellite telecommunications to remote islands throughout the Pacific. JRSC Guam reached out to FSM and U.S. Coast Guard’s Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Hawaii to coordinate the launch of available vessels and aircraft to aid in the search for the missing skiff. Watch standers from JRSC Guam used the Coast Guard Search and Rescue computer-base search program to develop search patterns for the responding vessels and aircraft. Broadcasts were also made advising mariners of the distress.
Multiple resources from FSM, the U.S. and the Automated Mutual-Assistance Vessel Rescue System were contacted to conduct searches for the missing vessel. Search resources included the 600-foot Gibraltar-flagged vehicle carrier Parana; 958-foot Hong Kong-flagged container ship Maersk Virginia; 803-foot Panama-flagged bulk carrier Jubilant Glory; 754-foot Panama-flagged bulk carrier Corona Ace; 623-foot Greece flagged bulk carrier Magda P; 852-foot Hong Kong-flagged container ship Oocl Yokohama; 738-foot Panama-flagged bulk carrier Shoyo; FSM-flagged ship FSS Carolina Voyager; sailing vessel Constance; a Navy P-3 airplane from Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan; and a U.S. Coast Guard C-130 airplane from USCG Air Station Barbers Point in Kapolei, Hawaii.
On the afternoon of May 31, the missing skiff, whose interior was painted orange, was located by the Navy P-3 approximately 25 nautical miles west-southwest of Faya Atoll. The vessel’s orange interior contrasts the blue ocean, which makes a vessel much more visible to searchers. The aircraft circled the vessel until Constance arrived on-scene to recover the 15-year-old passenger. FSS Carolina Voyager rendezvoused with Constance several hours later and transported the young man back to Chuuk. No major injuries were reported. A total of 1,492 square nautical miles were covered during the search. (USCG)