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10 crewmen safe after abandoning burning ship in western Pacific

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 1:34 a.m. HST, Apr 23, 2012

Ten crewmembers aboard a Taiwanese fishing boat were forced to abandon their burning ship 700 miles west of Guam and were rescued through coordinated efforts by the Coast Guard, Navy and a Marshallese-flagged bulk carrier ship.

Coast Guardsmen in Guam received an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon signal from the Hsin Man Chun, a 70-foot Taiwanese fishing vessel, at 4:30 p.m. Saturday. They then received a call from the rescue coordination center in Taipei, China, reporting that a sister ship of the Hsin Man Chun received a radio call indicating the crew was planning to abandon ship, the Coast Guard said.

A Navy P-3 Orion long-range search aircraft out of Kadena Air Base, Japan, then flew over the Hsin Man Chun and saw eight crewmembers in a life raft and two more on the bridge.

The Orion then dropped two life rafts for the crewmembers left aboard the burning ship.

The Semirio, a 950-foot, Marshallese-flagged bulk carrier that was sailing 40 miles away, then diverted to the burning ship, the Coast Guard said.

When it arrived, the Semirio launched a boat to rescue all 10 crewmembers. 

The Semirio participates in the AMVER System, a computer-based, voluntary global ship reporting system used worldwide by search and rescue authorities to arrange for assistance to persons in distress at sea, according to the Coast Guard.

With AMVER, rescue coordinators can identify participating ships in the area of distress and divert the best-suited ship or ships to respond, the Coast Guard said.


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