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Coast Guard, partners suspend search for missing mariners off Midway Island


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HONOLULU — The Coast Guard has suspended the active search Wednesday for the 10 crewmembers of the Taiwan fishing vessel, Yong-Yu-Sing No. 18, who went missing approximately 550-miles northeast of Midway Island.

“As a lifesaving service making the decision to suspend a search is never easy. We extend our deepest condolences to the families of the mariners,” said Capt. Craig O’Brien, the Coast Guard 14th District chief of response. “Coast Guard and Navy aircrews along with our maritime surface partners put forth great effort searching in extremely challenging weather, but unfortunately there has been no sign of the missing mariners and the Coast Guard has suspended the active search tonight at sunset pending further developments.”

Rescue crews from the Coast Guard, Navy, and good Samaritans aboard four fishing vessels and five Automated Mutual-Assistance Vessel Rescue System (AMVER) vessels conducted a total of 34 searches, over the course of 80 hours, covering over 44,000 square miles.

The partners had been searching for the Yong-Yu-Sing No.18’ crew since Dec. 31, 2020, after Rescue Coordination Center Taipei lost contact with the vessel. An Air Station Barbers Point HC-130 aircrew located the adrift Yong-Yu-Sing No. 18, Jan. 1, with a missing life raft and no sign of the 10 crewmembers.

Both Air Station Barbers Point and Navy aircrews performed daily air sorties of the area while the merchant and fishing vessel crews conducted surface searches.

The reported weather on scene throughout the search has been winds regularly greater than 20 mph and seas of 11 to 25 feet and is forecasted to rapidly deteriorate.

Despite the high winds and seas, crewmembers aboard the Taiwan fishing vessel Lian-Horng No. 67 and the AMVER vessel M/V Horizon Spirit were able to circle within 200 feet of the vessel. The rescue crews reported no signs of the missing mariners and placed an automatic tracking system beacon which allowed watchstanders to continuously track the vessel during the search.

Involved in the search were:

– Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point C-130 Hercules aircrews
– A Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak C-130J Hercules aircrew
– Four Taiwan fishing vessels
– Navy P-8 Poseidon aircrews
– The crew of the AMVER vessel M/V Oocl Tokyo
– The crew of the AMVER vessel M/V Nicon Future
– The crew of the AMVER vessel M/V Horizon Spirit
– The crew of the AMVER vessel M/V Zim New York
– The crew of the AMVER vessel M/V Maunalei

AMVER is a world-wide voluntary reporting system sponsored by the United States Coast Guard. It is a computer-based global ship reporting system used worldwide by search and rescue authorities to arrange for assistance to persons in distress at sea. Today, over 22,000 ships from hundreds of nations participate in AMVER.

*All times are in Hawaii Standard Time


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