Preparation, Partnerships Pay Off in 17 Mariner Rescues

USCG 14th District
U.S. and international partners recently rescued 17 boaters off the coasts of Alaska, California and Micronesia. Image courtesy of USCG.

U.S. Coast Guard officials in Alameda, California are crediting prepared mariners and partnerships between the U.S. and international partners for the successful rescue of 17 boaters off the coasts of Alaska, California and Micronesia, over a two-day period in mid-November.

All three rescue events highlight the importance of mariners properly equipped and trained for survival at sea, as well as government and industry partnerships, Coast Guard officials said.

The crew of a good Samaritan vessel, Nord Rubicon, rescued seven fishermen in a life raft on Nov. 10, 350 miles off the coast of Monterey, California after their 85-foot commercial fishing boat caught fire and became engulfed in flames. Multiple emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) alerts immediately notified Coast Guard crews that the vessel was in trouble. Coast Guard watchstanders used the Automated Mutual-Assistance Vessel Rescue System to seek help from nearby ships.

Crew aboard the Nord Rubicon, who were 80 miles away, diverted from their course, retrieved the fishermen and took them safely to shore.

That same day aircrews from Coast Guard Sector Juneau rescued four fishermen after they abandoned their 53-foot fishing boar sinking 13 miles west of Cape Ommaney, in Southeast Alaska. Coast Guard duty officer Nicholas Meyer credited their survival to their proper use of an EPIRB, VHF radio, survival suits, life raft and training.

On Nov. 11, off the coast of the Federated States of Micronesia six people who had survived at sea were found on a 24-foot skiff 40 mile southeast of the Morlock Islands. An eight-day search for them involved the Coast Guard, the U.S. Navy, Federated State of Micronesia first responders, Caroline Islands first responders and local good Samaritans.

Vice Admiral Michael F. McAllister, commander of the Coast Guard Pacific Area, said the impressive rescues demonstrate the resolve of the Coast Guard to be Semper Paratus, Latin for Always Ready.

“Thanks to the valuable relationships we’ve built with partner agencies, the valuable contributions of good Samaritans, and the focus these mariners had on ensuring they were ready for emergencies at sea 17 people are alive today who may not otherwise be,” McAllister said.