Coast Guard Honolulu helps rescue 36 fishermen in Pacific Ocean - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Coast Guard Honolulu helps rescue 36 fishermen in Pacific Ocean

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

A Coast Guard crew out of the Barbers Point Air Station in Hawaii helped rescue 36 fishermen from a Papua New Guinea flagged ship on Saturday.
 
According to Coast Guard District 14 officials, the crew of the 229-foot commercial purse seiner Glory Pacific No. 8 had to abandon ship due to a fire about 2,070 miles southwest of Hawaii.
 
Watchstanders at Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Honolulu received a request from the Rescue Coordination Center New Zealand to assist. They launched a HC-130 Hercules aircrew to make contact and assess the situation. Using the AMVER system, they were able to locate the fishing vessel Lomalo, registered in the Republic of the Marsahall Islands, whose crew also agreed to help.

The fishermen escaped into several skiffs and life boats which they tethered together to await their rescue. They had activated their emergency position
indicating radio -- EPIRB -- beacon and continued repeating the signal, which allowed the Hercules crew to find them quickly.

After a nine-hour flight, the Hercules crew was on scene and dropped them water and smoke flares to help navigate the rescue ship Lomalo to their
location.

The Hercules crew stayed on scene to monitor the rescue as the men were moved, one by one, onto the 215-foot Lomalo.
 
"This case is a perfect example of the necessary and strong coordination between the U.S. Coast Guard and our New Zealand-based search and rescue
counterparts," said Christopher Kimbrough of Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center Honolulu. "Our combined efforts coupled with the willingness of the Lomalo crew to help, led to the successful rescue of these fisherman in a very remote part of the Pacific. The fact that the Glory Pacific crew had the emergency equipment needed to abandon ship contributed significantly to the successful rescue of the full crew."
 
Officials say the survivors reportedly spent 10.5 hours in the skiffs prior to rescue. The weather conditions were 6 to 12 mph winds with seas up to 10 feet and scattered showers. No injuries were reported.
 
The Pacific Glory fishing vessel was last seen fully engulfed in flame, unmanned, unpowered and adrift. It’s believed that it may sink or present a hazard to navigation and mariners are required to keep a sharp lookout to avoid collision.

“The Hercules crew flew a total of 4,530 miles and due to distance, fuel usage and crew fatigue limits spent the night in Pago Pago, American Samoa,
to refuel and get crew rest before returning to their home station in Hawaii,” said Coast Guard officials.  
 
"The Coast Guard 14th District covers more than 12.2 million square miles of land and sea, an area almost twice the size of Russia, with units on
Oahu, Maui, Kauai, the Big Island, and in American Samoa, Saipan, Guam, Singapore and Japan," said Kimbrough. "Despite being spread throughout the Pacific we are often still very far away from those who need help and that is why our partnerships with the other Pacific nations and AMVER are essential."
 
AMVER, sponsored by the U.S. Coast Guard, is a unique, computer-based, and voluntary global ship reporting system used worldwide by search and rescue authorities to arrange for assistance to persons in distress at sea, especially in remote areas. With AMVER, rescue coordinators can identify participating ships in the area of distress and divert the best-suited ship or ships to respond.

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