Three men clinging to the part of their capsized boat that was still above the waterline were saved Tuesday morning, with the patrol boat of the Department of Public Safety Boating Safety Section arriving in time to pluck the three men from their sinking boat.
In a joint effort by the Department of Public Safety Boating Safety Section, U.S. Coast Guard Sector Guam, and container ship the APL Saipan, the three fishermen were rescued in the waters 5 miles south of the northern island Sarigan. When the fishermen were first found, they were holding on to the portion of their capsized boat that was still peeking above the water.
According to a DPS news release posted on its social media page yesterday, they received a call at 4:30am regarding a distressed vessel about 5 miles south of the island of Sarigan and dispatched a patrol boat out of Smiling Cove soon after. At about 9:29am the officers noticed a vessel’s bow above the water with three fishermen holding on to the vessel, helped the three men onto their boat, and transported them to a passing container ship, APL Saipan, for medical attention. DPS reported that all three fishermen said they were okay and did not have any injuries.
According to USCG Sector Guam public affairs officer Lt. Junior Grade Edward Oingergang, the Coast Guard served a “dispatcher role”—when they receive a report of a vessel in distress they contact assets within the area. In this case, it included DPS, the APL Saipan, and one of the Coast Guard’s own vessels. Oingerang said a team was sent to the scene to assess potential oil spills and other pollution risks as there was fuel on board, but was unable to disclose further as the “case” was “closed.”
As per DPS’ press release, the three fishermen left Saipan on Monday morning, travelling during the day to the site where they were found to go night fishing. The fisherman operating the boat “noticed that the vessel was taking in a lot of water” and within a minute the boat began to capsize. The operator used a satellite phone to call a friend to let him know that their boat was capsizing. The friend then called DPS for help.
DPS urges boaters to call the Boating Safety Office at 233-9120 for a complete list of required safety equipment to have on board or to call the DPS front desk at 664-9001 for any questions.