UPDATE: 9:30 A.M.
The Coast Guard is continuing their search for a missing crew member from a car-carrying vessel that caught fire on New Year’s Eve.
Good Samaritans had rescued 16 of the 21 crew members aboard the 650-foot Sincerity Ace that was en route to Hawaii from Japan when the fire occurred aboard the vessel more than 2,000 miles northwest of Oahu.
The Coast Guard initially reported three crew members were located in the water but unresponsive.
Today, Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Matthew West said four crew members have been found but are unresponsive in the water and have not been able to reach lifesaving equipment.
Two HC-130 Hercules planes and three vessels are involved in the search for the missing crew member.
A massive ocean search continued Tuesday for two missing crew members from a car-carrying vessel that caught fire on Monday.
The 650-foot Sincerity Ace was en route to Hawaii from Japan when a fire broke out and its captain reported his intent to evacuate the ship. The vessel was 1,800 nautical miles northwest of Oahu at the time of the emergency.
The joint rescue center received notification from Japan at 1:04 a.m. Monday, and immediately issued a SafetyNet broadcast requesting the assistance of vessels in the area and launched an HC-130 Hercules aircrew from Air Station Barbers Point.
According to the Coast Guard, good Samaritans aboard four merchant vessels rescued 16 of the 21 crew members on Monday. Of the remaining five, three were located but “remain in the water as they are unresponsive and unable to grab onto life-saving equipment to be brought aboard.”
The other two crew members remain missing and are the subject of a search by the Coast Guard, Navy and two merchant vessels covering a search area of nearly 6,000 nautical miles.
“We are thankful for the assistance the crews of these merchant vessels have given us during this event significantly reducing possible response time,” said Lt. Duane Zitta, Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center Honolulu, in a release issued Tuesday. “Their quick actions provided for the rescue of 16 members of the crew who would otherwise still be in the water and are continuing to aid us.”
Weather conditions on scene Tuesday were reported as 15- to 18-foot seas with winds at 17 mph. Coast Guard officials said reduced white caps improved visibility.
The search has included two Air Station Barbers Point HC-130 Hercules aircrews, a Navy 7th Fleet P-8 Poseidon aircrew, and the crews of the Motor Vessel Green Lake, SM Eagle, Motor Vessel New Century 1, Motor Vessel Venus Spirit and Motor Vessel Genco Augustus
The owners of the Sincerity Ace are coordinating with the merchant vessels for the transport of the rescued mariners. The Sincerity Ace remains adrift on the high seas while salvage plan is being formalized; commercial tugs have been dispatched by the company.