SANTA RITA, Guam — The Coast Guard, the USAF, and regional partners are searching for a 47-year-old mariner missing from the Panamanian-flagged merchant vessel Rising Wind, 174 miles northwest of Chuuk, Micronesia, Wednesday.
“In cases such as this one, we often rely on our partners in the region to coordinate effective searches and cover vast areas,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Colby Anderson, a Joint Rescue Sub-Center Guam watchstander. “The Air Force is augmenting our air asset with another aircraft to cover more search area faster than we can do alone.”
A Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point HC-130 Hercules aircrew, USAF 36th Wing C-130J Super Hercules aircrew, and the crew of the Rising Wind are conducting searches of the area. JRSC Guam watchstanders are coordinating with local partners and also reaching out to good Samaritans in the region to assist.
At 5:44 p.m., Tuesday, JRSC Guam watchstanders received a report from Rescue Coordination Center Australia watchstanders stating they received a call from the first mate of the 751-foot bulk carrier Rising Wind reporting the vessel’s master was missing. The master was last seen in his cabin, feeling ill, wearing a dark-blue winter jacket, brown pants, and slippers.
Upon realizing the master was missing, the Rising Wind’s crew turned the vessel around and began retracing their course. JRSC Guam watchstanders diverted the Air Station Barbers Point Hercules aircrew from a maritime domain awareness flight nearby and reached out to the Air Force 36th Wing for assistance.
The Air Force agreed to assist and deployed the Super Hercules aircrew from Anderson Air Force Base, Guam, to support in the search. JRSC Guam watchstanders are also assessing the availability of any Automated Mutual Assistance Vessel Rescue System (AMVER) ships in the region to assist.
AMVER, sponsored by the Coast Guard, is a computer-based, voluntary global ship reporting system used worldwide by search and rescue authorities. With AMVER, rescue coordinators can identify participating ships in the area of distress and divert the best-suited ship or ships to respond.
The Rising Wind was en-route from Japan to Australia at the time of the incident.
The weather on scene is winds of 8 mph and seas up to 13 feet.