USCG mission continues, despite funding lapse

Sincerity Ace photographed in the Port of Antwerp Sincerity Ace photographed in the Port of Antwerp Alf van Beem

JANUARY 2, 2019 — Coast Guard personnel continued to work around the clock over the holiday period on multiple life saving and other missions — despite having no certainty as to when they would receive their next pay check after December 31. (You can read what they have been told HERE);

In one high profile response, Coast Guard, Navy and good Samaritans aboard two merchant vessels were continuing to search yesterday for two crew members from the Japanese owned car carrier Sincerity Ace following a fire that broke out Monday, 1,800 nautical miles (2,071 statute miles) northwest of Oahu.

The master of the Sincerity Ace reported a significant vessel fire, ongoing firefighting efforts, and an intent to abandon ship. The crew was able to launch one of the life rafts, and four of the 21 mariners abandoned ship with lifejackets. The remaining 17 crew were reportedly continuing to fight the fire.

The Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center (JRCC) in Honolulu received notification of the incident from JRCC Japan at 1:04 a.m. Monday, Watchstanders in Honolulu immediately issued a SafetyNet broadcast requesting the assistance of vessels in the area and directed the launch of a HC-130Hercules from Air Station Barbers Point.

Good Samaritans aboard four merchant vessels rescued 16 of the 21 crew Monday. Three of the five missing mariners reportedly were located but remained in the water as they are unresponsive and unable to grab onto life-saving equipment to be brought aboard. Search efforts yesterday focused on the two remaining potential survivors in a search area of 5,832 square nautical miles (6,711 square statute miles).

Involved in the search to date:

  • Two Air Station Barbers Point HC-130 Hercules aircrews
  • A Navy 7th Fleet P-8 Poseidon aircrew
  • Crew of the Motor Vessel Green Lake
  • Crew of the SM Eagle
  • Crew of the Motor Vessel New Century 1
  • Crew of the Motor Vessel Venus Spirit
  • Crew of the Motor Vessel Genco Augustus

The owners of the Sincerity Ace have been coordinating with the merchant vessels for the transport of the rescued mariners. The vessel is currently adrift on the high seas. A salvage plan is being formalized and commercial tugs have been dispatched by the company.

The commercial vessels involved are part of the AMVER, or Automated Mutual-Assistance Vessel Rescue System, voluntary reporting system sponsored by the Coast Guard.

Sincerity Ace photographed in the Port of Antwerp

Alf van Beem

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