An Air Station Barbers Point HC-130 Hercules aircrew search for the crew of the fishing vessel Yong-Yu-Sing No. 18, 550-miles northeast of Midway Island, Jan. 12, 2020. U.S. Coast Guard

Search Suspended for Missing Fishermen Off Midway Island

Mike Schuler
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January 18, 2021

The U.S. Coast Guard has suspended the active search for 10 missing crewmembers from a Taiwanese fishing vessel off of Midway Island in the Pacific Ocean.

Rescue crews from the Coast Guard, Navy, and good Samaritans aboard four fishing vessels and five Automated Mutual-Assistance Vessel Rescue System (AMVER) vessels participated in the search, conducting 34 searches over 80 hours and covering over 44,000 square miles.

The search was launched after the Rescue Coordination Center Taipei had lost contact withe FV Yong-Yu-Sing No.18 on December 31, 2020., The vessel last reported to be about 550-miles northeast of Midway Island. A U.S. Coast Guard HC-130 aircrew was able to locate the adrift Yong-Yu-Sing No. 18 on January 1, confirming that a life raft was missing and no sign of the 10 crew members.

The reported weather on scene throughout the search has been winds regularly greater than 20 mph and seas of 11 to 25 feet and is forecasted to rapidly deteriorate.

Despite the conditions, crew members aboard the Taiwanese F/V Lian-Horng No. 67 and the AMVER vessel M/V Horizon Spirit were able to circle within 200 feet of the vessel. The rescue crews reported no signs of the missing mariners and placed an automatic tracking system beacon which allowed watchstanders to continuously track the vessel during the search.

The search was officially suspended last Wednesday, January 13.

“As a lifesaving service making the decision to suspend a search is never easy. We extend our deepest condolences to the families of the mariners,” said Capt. Craig O’Brien, the Coast Guard 14th District chief of response. “Coast Guard and Navy aircrews along with our maritime surface partners put forth great effort searching in extremely challenging weather, but unfortunately there has been no sign of the missing mariners and the Coast Guard has suspended the active search tonight at sunset pending further developments.”

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