Mon, Apr 23, 2012 - Page 3 News List

US coast guard, navy help rescue Taiwanese vessel

SOS:The US Navy located eight crewmembers in a life raft and two others still on the burning ship, at which point two life rafts were deployed to assist, the US 7th Fleet reported

By J. Michael Cole  /  Staff reporter

A P-3 “Orion” marine patrol aircraft from a US patrol squadron, as well as the US Coast Guard, took part in the rescue at sea of 10 Taiwanese fishermen on Saturday, 1,120km off the west coast of Guam.

The Honolulu-based Coast Guard District 14 - Sector Guam received an alert from an emergency position-indicating radio beacon from the Taiwanese fishing vessel Hsin Man Chun at about 4:30pm.

After a request for assistance from the US Coast Guard, a P-3 aircraft from Patrol Squadron (VP) 1 “Screaming Eagles” based at Naval Air Facility Misawa in Japan, located 10 crewmembers from the fishing vessel, which had caught fire.

VP-1 spotted eight crew-members in a life raft and two others who were still on the bridge of the burning vessel. The P-3 deployed two life rafts to assist the crew, the US 7th Fleet reported on the US Navy Web site.

At the time of the request for assistance, the Semirio — one of several foreign-flagged vessels operating in the Pacific Ocean as part of the volunteer Automated Mutual-Assistance Rescue System (AMVER) — was about 60km away from the Hsin Man Chun.

Upon reaching the burning vessel, the bulk carrier launched a small boat and rescued all 10 crewmembers.

AMVER, which is sponsored by the US Coast Guard, is a -computer-based voluntary global ship reporting system used worldwide by search and rescue authorities to arrange for assistance to persons in distress at sea.

Through the AMVER compressed message system, rescue coordinators can quickly and easily identify participating ships in the area of distress and divert the best-suited ship or ships to respond.

According to the US Coast Guard, more than 22,000 ships from about 100 countries participate in the program, the origins of which can be traced back to the sinking of the Titanic 100 years ago.

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