Coast Guard, partners rescue adrift mariner off Federated States of Micronesia


SANTA RITA, Guam — The Coast Guard, Navy, Air Force, and Federated States of Micronesia Police rescued an adrift mariner off the Lukunor Atoll in the Mortlock Islands of Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia, Friday.

“Our good working relationship with our partners in the region was vital during this case,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Melissa Reilly, a Joint Rescue Sub-Center Guam watchstander. “Due to the vast distances involved here in the Pacific, we often rely on both our sister services and international partners to successfully locate mariners in need and get them the help they require.”

A Navy Commander Task Force 72 P-8 Poseidon aircrew located the 23-year-old mariner aboard his adrift, 16-foot white skiff, and vectored in the crew of the FSM patrol vessel FSS Micronesia. Their crew successfully recovered the mariner. He is reportedly in good health, and the FSS Micronesia’s team will return him to Lukunor Atoll.

Involved in the search were:

– A Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point HC-130 Hercules aircrew
– The CTF-72 P-8 Poseidon aircrew
– An Air Force 36th Wing B-52 Stratofortress aircrew
– The crew of the FSS Micronesia
– Local search parties

At 7:38 p.m., Wednesday, JRSC Guam watchstanders received a report from the Federated States of Micronesia Police regarding the situation. Four fishers departed Lukanor Atoll Monday to fish along the nearby Sopunur Island reef. Once there, three of the fishermen went ashore while the one stayed aboard the vessel at anchor. 

Once done for the day, the three fishers returned to the location they anchored and found no sign of the boat. The fishers turned back to Lukanor Atoll, organized search parties, and notified the Federated States of Micronesia Police.

JRSC Guam and Joint Rescue Center Honolulu watchstanders coordinated with partners in the region to search and deployed the Hercules aircrew from Hawaii to search the area. Watchstanders also reached out to the Navy and Air Force, who agreed to assist.

“Searches such as this one often require teamwork across a broad selection of local, national, and international partners,” said Reilly. “Often, the Navy and Air Force assist with searches in this region because their crews are in the best position to respond. We are always deeply thankful for their efforts.”

Friday, the Navy P-8 aircrew used radar to locate the mariner’s boat approximately 51 miles from his last known position. The aircrew then remained overhead until the FSS Micronesia’s crew arrived in the area and conducted the rescue.

The weather on scene was winds of 10 mph and seas up to 6 feet. 

*All dates and times in Hawaii Standard Time.