USCG coordinates rescue of 18 Ecuadorians near Galapagos Islands
After their 72-foot commercial fishing vessel sunk Friday about 350 miles north of the Galapagos Islands, the U.S. Coast Guard organized the rescue of 18 Ecuadorians.
At 4:30 a.m., 11th Coast Guard District watchmen received an alert from an emergency position-indicating radio beacon from an unidentified vessel north of the Galapagos Islands.
District watchmen requested aerial assistance and informed Ecuador that they had started to investigate the registration of the EPIRB.
The Coast Guard watchstanders provided a request for assistance using the Automated Mutual-Assistance Vessel Rescue System (AMVER), and the crew of the vessel Hai Soon 26, positioned 80 miles north of the warning spot, replied that they were willing to redirect and assist the distressed mariners.
The vessel in distress was confirmed by Ecuadorian staff to be the fishing vessel Romeo, which took on water with 18 people on board.
At approximately 11 a.m., the support aircraft arrived on the scene, found the capsized vessel and life raft and shortly thereafter vectored 26 crew to the position of the distressed sailors in the Hai Soon.
The crew of Hai Soon 26 arrived at the scene at 12:26 p.m. The 18 Ecuadorian nationals, five individuals from a life raft and 12 individuals from a sinking fishing boat were rescued.
“It was a great partnership to provide a timely air response as well as working with the AMVER program to render timely assistance. Ecuador was able to assist with providing more information on the case because the EPIRB didn’t have identifying features to what vessel the EPIRB belonged to," said Petty Officer 1st Class Timothy Spencer, an 11th Coast Guard District command center operations specialist.
Maritime Business World