SANTA RITA, Guam—The U.S. Coast Guard and Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands partners will conduct a search and rescue exercise on Saipan today and Wednesday, Aug. 23 – 24.
Invited agencies include the Department of Public Safety, Department of Fish and Wildlife, Division of Environmental Quality – Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality, Homeland Security and Emergency management, Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services, Commonwealth Port Authority, Customs and Biosecurity, and other local officials and representatives.
This year’s SAREX will entail a coordinated response to a simulated capsized kayak off Tanapag Harbor. Participants will conduct training and search patterns offshore. Waterway users are requested to stay clear of the boating area involved during the exercise, designated by the presence of the kayak, boats, and other assets.
The exercise will last two days, including planning, safety, and communication meetings in a Tuesday tabletop portion with an open water phase to occur on Wednesday in the harbor.
Assets involved in this year’s SAREX are anticipated to be:
– Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam Joint Sub-Center Center and response personnel
– Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Saipan personnel
– CNMI partner boat crews
Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam holds SAREXs in Guam, the CNMI, and the Compact of Free Association states. They evaluate notification and response procedures and identify shortfalls in communication and coordination of response during SAR incidents. Each agency holds individual capabilities that complement each other’s efforts and bolsters the overall success of the SAR system.
The public should remain vigilant and call 911 to report any possible distress situations but be mindful of the Wednesday on-water activity. Emergency response capabilities will not be compromised by the exercise. (USCG)