Fishermen rescued after eight days stranded at sea in Micronesia

21 February 2018

Three fishermen have been rescued in the Federated States of Micronesia after they spent eight days stranded at sea.

The 19-foot skiff was first reported missing on 12 February after it failed to return from a fishing expedition near Chuuk.

Coast Guard planes from Guam searched for several days, before a US Navy plane was diverted from Japan to join the search.

The Navy said its Poseidon aircraft found the skiff and dropped a supply kit, before the survivors were picked up by a nearby police vessel and returned to Chuuk.

It said the skiff had food and water supplies, but there was no safety equipment or radios.


  • U.S. Navy Locates Fishermen in Long-Distance SAR Effort

    On February 20, a U.S. Navy patrol aircraft located and saved a group of fishermen who went missing last week in the Pacific.

    Three fishermen from Fefan Island - one of several islets within Chuuk Lagoon, Micronesia - left their home port in a skiff on February 13. They planned on a one-day fishing trip in nearby waters, but they did not return, and a local effort to find them was unsuccessful.

    The Chuuk search and rescue liaison reached out to U.S. Coast Guard Sector Guam to request assistance on February 15.

    In response, the Coast Guard dispatched the Guam-based cutter Kiska and an HC-130 long-range search aircraft based out of Honolulu, Hawaii. It also activated an AMVER request for merchant vessel search assistance, and received help from nine ships - the Frontier Ace, Dyna Voyager, Maran Gas Agamemnon, Unta, Corona Ace, Corona Splendor, Grand Quest, Shoyoh and Seoul Express. This effort did not yield immediate results, and after several days, the Coast Guard requested assistance from the U.S. Navy.

    In response, the Navy's Japan-based Patrol Squadron Eight launched a P-8A Poseidon patrol aircraft to search the waters near Chuuk Lagoon, and its crew found the missing skiff within three hours. The survivors were adrift about 85 nm to the south of the lagoon, and the Micronesian patrol vessel FSS Palikir transited to the scene and rescued the fishermen.

    The survivors were reportedly in good health with no medical concerns. They told responders they had experienced engine issues while fishing and began to drift, preventing their return to shore.

    Micronesia has a special relationship with the American government that permits it to request assistance under certain circumstances. The Federated States of Micronesia was once part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, a outlying territory of the United States that was dissolved in 1986. Micronesia retains a "Compact of Free Association" with the U.S., which gives it access to American emergency services, military protection and certain government administration functions.
  • I am so happy for the fishermen that they are safe now. I am am fisherman myself.

    Shouldn't Congress enact a law for boating safety standard? The use of the high seas in the FSM need to be regulated for safety reasons. The the minimum, radio, life jacket, GPS, etc. Congress paying for the first batch of these equipment will be cheaper than paying to send these Orion seaplanes or Coast Guard Cutters out here. I read someplace that the FSM pays upwards to $200,000 for each deployment of search and rescue.
  • I agree, microspring2014 . Lives could be saved - not to mention hundreds of thousands of dollars - with commonsense, enforceable boating safety laws.
  • Kinisou Chapur FSM Department of Justice (National Police Maritime Wing), United States Coast Guard, United States Navy and all involved in the SAR mission leading to the rescue of the three Chuukese fishermen who were lost at sea for the past seven days.

    Fakkun kinisou chapur.

    from the Chuukese families/relatives
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