US Coast Guard, partners search for 10 missing fishermen off Midway Island

A US Coast Guard HC-130J Hercules maritime patrol and surveillance aircraft (Photo: Lockheed Martin)

The US Coast Guard, US Navy, and Good Samaritans are searching for a life raft from an adrift 28-metre Taiwanese fishing vessel approximately 885 kilometres northeast of Midway Island in the North Pacific.

Multiple coast guard aircrews with assistance from navy aircrews and Taiwanese vessels are searching for 10 crewmembers possibly aboard a life raft after the vessel was found adrift on Friday, January 1.

At 21:38 local time on Friday, Joint Rescue Coordination Center Honolulu watchstanders received a report from Rescue Coordination Center Taipei stating they had lost contact with the Taiwanese fishing vessel Yong-Yu-Sing No 18.

After multiple failed attempts to contact the vessel via satellite phone, JRCC Honolulu watchstanders issued a SafetyNet broadcast, contacted commercial vessels in the area, and launched an Air Station Barbers Point HC-130 Hercules aircrew to conduct a search for the missing fishing vessel.

Upon arriving in the area the Hercules aircrew located the vessel and attempted to contact the crew over the radio with no response. Poor weather conditions prevented the aircrew from observing any crewmembers aboard and due to low fuel the Hercules aircrew returned to base after taking imagery of the vessel.

Upon analysis of the imagery it was discovered there was damage to the ship and one of the vessel’s life rafts was missing.

JRCC Honolulu Watchstanders then deployed assets to search the area and reached out to partners for assistance.

The search for the missing fishermen continues. Four other Taiwanese-flagged fishing vessels are assisting in efforts to locate the distressed sailors.

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