10 Taiwanese fishermen were forced to abandon ship 700 miles west of Guam this weekend when their 70-foot fishing boat Hsin Man Chun caught fire. Upon activating their Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB), the U.S. Coast Guard was immediately alerted of the vessel’s distress.
A US Navy P-3 Orion long-range search aircraft from Patrol Squadron 1 stationed at Kadena Air Base, Japan, was soon dispatched and upon reaching the scene, reported eight crewmembers in a life raft and two more on the bridge of the burning vessel. The P-3 crew deployed two life rafts to assist the crew members that remained behind.
At the time of the incident, the AMVER participating cargo ship Semirio, a Marshall Islands-flagged bulk carrier owned by Diana Shipping, was only 40 miles away from the distress location when it was alerted by the U.S. Coast Guard of the situation and diverted to assist. Once on scene, the 950-foot bulk carrier launched a small boat and successfully rescued all 10 crew members.
The Semirio is one of over 20,000 vessels enrolled in the AMVER System which 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. With AMVER, rescue coordinators can identify participating ships in the area of distress and divert the best-suited ship or ships to respond.