Coast Guard Responds to Busy Holiday Weekend
The Coast Guard responded to several cases in the Hawaiian Islands, American Samoa and Guam over Presidents’ Day weekend.
The cases range from a passenger-ferry taking on water in American Samoa to vessels in distress in Hawai‘i and Guam and beachgoers swept out to sea off Maui. The Coast Guard handles around 900 cases annually in the region.
“Our crews are always ready to respond to any cases that may emerge,” said Lt. j.g. Lydia Dillworth, a Sector Honolulu command duty officer. “It is why they train so hard. The ocean is at the best of times an unpredictable place and we recommend waterway users check their local environmental conditions when making their plans in Hawai‘i that is online.”
At 10:35 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019, Sector Honolulu watchstanders received a report of a red flare near the Captain Cook Monument on Hawai‘i Island. A Dolphin crew launched to respond, and there were no reports of distress or military operations in the area. Hawai‘i Fire Department personnel visited beaches in the area with no follow-up leads. An Air Station HC-130 Hercules airplane crew conducted a first light search Sunday with no sightings, and the case closed.
At 1:30 p.m., Saturday, Sector Honolulu watchstanders learned the 145-foot passenger-ferry Sili was taking on water at the main pier in Pago Pago, American Samoa. Marine Safety Division American Samoa personnel responded alongside local authorities and members of SOLAR, an oil spill response organization.
A salvage dive team located a two-inch diameter hole on the hull of the vessel and applied a temporary patch. The ship will remain out of service until it is dry docked and permanent repairs effected. At the end of March, dry dock facilities will be available. MSD American Samoa personnel will continue to monitor and advise.
Saturday evening, at 8:48 p.m., Sector Guam watchstanders issued a UMIB and placed Station Apra Harbor on standby following a report from the Guam Fire Dispatch of an incident aboard an 18-foot sports fishing boat with three boaters aboard. Their vessel was having engine difficulties and was dead in the water.
At 8:56 p.m., the owner of the pleasure craft Liquid Soul notified the watchstanders the disabled vessel was in sight, and he would remain on scene in case they needed assistance until Guam Fire Rescue arrived. GFR III response crews arrived on scene and were able to tow the vessel back to Agat Marina safely.
At 1:52 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 17, the Honolulu Fire Department reported a capsized 13-foot pleasure-craft two miles off Ka’ena Point with two people aboard to Sector Honolulu watchstanders who issued an Urgent Maritime Information Broadcast and launched an Air Station Barbers Point MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew in response.
An Ocean Safety Jet-ski operator and good Samaritan arrived on scene and recovered the two mariners. The vessel was towed back to Waianae small boat harbor. There were no reports of injuries from the incident.
Later that day, at 4:14 p.m., Sector Honolulu watchstanders received notification from Coast Guard Station Maui of four beachgoers swept out to sea near Red Sand Beach Park, Hana, and were 1,000 yards off the shore. Reportedly, one of the beachgoers held onto a yellow-buoy. Two others shared a boogie board, and the fourth person was unresponsive in the water.
Sector Honolulu watchstanders issued a UMIB and launched another Dolphin crew to assist. Maui County Fire Department also sent a helicopter crew and ground responders. The Maui County first responders arrived first and recovered all four beachgoers and administered CPR to the unresponsive person until transferred to emergency medical personnel. Coast Guard crews were stood down.
Monday, Feb. 18, the Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Honolulu received a request for assistance from MCC Korea reporting a missing crewmember from the Korean-flagged 162-foot fishing vessel Oryong No. 721 located 483 statute miles west of Jarvis Island, 1,680 miles southwest of Honolulu. The 25-year-old Indonesian crewman was last seen smoking on the fantail at 4:45 a.m. Monday in a black shirt and neon green running pants. He was confirmed missing an hour later. JRCC watchstanders issued a SafetyNet broadcast alerting vessels in the area to the situation and, working through AMVER, identified other ships to assist in the search. They also provided search plans to the Oryong crew based on available information. Due to distance and limited aviation support a Coast Guard HC-130 would have only one hour of on-scene search time per seven to eight hours of transit severely limiting its value. The case is on going.
Also, Coast Guard Sector Honolulu investigators received reports of two injuries aboard the Pride of America Saturday. A crewmember sustained a hand injury while cleaning equipment aboard the vessel and a passenger sustained minor inquires in a fall on a stairwell. Both people received treatment aboard the ship. Such events are not uncommon, but under the Code of Federal Regulations must be reported to the Coast Guard and investigated.