Search Under Way for Fisherman Who Tried to Swim Between Vessels

The cutter Kimball (file image)

Published Feb 3, 2021 1:51 PM by The Maritime Executive

The crew of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Kimball has joined the search for a missing fisherman from the Japanese vessel Miyamaru No. 18, 

The fisherman was last seen on Sunday night at a position about 720 miles southwest of Guam. At about 2330 hours, his crewmates saw him attempting to swim to another nearby fishing vessel. They lost sight of him, and they launched a search in an attempt to locate him. 

At about 0230 hours on Monday morning, the Coast Guard station in Guam received a report from the Japan Coast Guard about the situation. The USCG and the U.S. Navy have joined the search effort, assisted by good samaritan vessels. 

“We have been coordinating with the Japan Coast Guard, Australia, our Department of Defense partners, and good Samaritans aboard both fishing and commercial vessels in the area throughout the case,” said Lt. Cmdr. Tory Saxon, a search and rescue mission coordinator at Joint-Rescue Sub-Center Guam (JRSC). “When it comes to long range search and rescue operations such as this, our partnerships are vital because of the distances involved.”

Watchstanders at the JRSC sent a broadcast alert to mariners and reached out to participating Automated Mutual-Assistance Vessel Rescue System (AMVER) ships in the area. The crew of the Kimball was also diverted from a patrol nearby and made her way to the area. The recently-built patrol cutter carries a small aerial drone that can assist in large-area search operations. 

Additional assets include a U.S. Navy P-8 maritime patrol aircraft, a second P-8 from the Australian Defence Forces and 15 good samaritan fishing vessels. They are working in moderate weather conditions, with winds of 20 mph and seas up to 4-6 feet.