The 36-member crew of a Papua New Guinea-flagged commercial purse seiner are safe following a joint rescue by good samaritan vessels and search and rescue authorities in a remote part of the Pacific Ocean approximately 2,071 miles southwest of Hawaii.
Coast Guard Watchstanders in Honolulu received a request Saturday from the Rescue Coordination Center New Zealand to provide resources after the 229-foot purse seiner Glory Pacific No. 8 reportedly caught fire in the Pacific and the full crew abandoned ship into two skiffs and several life rafts.
A U.S. Coast Guard HC-130 aircraft from Air Station Barbers Point in Honolulu was launched and able to locate the survivors and the burning vessel, which at that point was engulfed in flames and adrift. Once on scene, the aircrew was able to drop smoke flares and water to the survivors.
Meanwhile, dispatchers were able to alert the nearby AMVER-participating commercial fishing vessel Lomalo who agreed to assist.
About 10.5 hours after abandoning ship, the Lomalo arrived on scene and rescued all 36 survivors. The vessel was expected to rendezvous with the 222-foot Papua New Guinea-flagged commercial fishing vessel Pacific Journey No.1, who will take the survivors aboard and bring them to their next port of call several days from now.
Weather conditions were 6 to 12 mph winds with seas up to 10-feet and scattered showers. No injuries were reported.
Video from the rescue:
The Coast Guard says that the rescue was possible due to the successful coordination of assets and because the crew of the Glory Pacific No. 8 activated their emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB), alerting rescuers to their situation and allowed the Hercules aircrew to zero in on the survivors’ location.
“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.”
AMVER is sponsored by the U.S. Coast Guard and 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, especially in remote areas by identifying participating nearby ships and diverting the best-suited ship or ships to respond.
The Coast Guard says that the aircraft flew a total of 4,530 miles in the operation.