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Coast Guard, Navy, international partners search for overdue skiff near Chuuk Atoll

March 17, 2014 - 4:16pm

The U.S. Coast Guard along with the Navy, Federated States of Micronesia, Australia and several commercial mariners are searching for an overdue skiff with two people aboard that departed Chuuk Atoll on Thursday.

Crewmembers at Coast Guard Sector Guam received a report Friday that a 19-foot skiff departed for a daylong fishing trip in the vicinity of the Chuuk Atoll but did not return.

Assisting in the search is an HC-130 airplane crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point, Oahu, one Navy P-3 Orion airplane crew from Okinawa, Japan, one P-3 Orion airplane crew from Australia, the pacific-class patrol boat FSS Micronesia from Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia and five good Samaritan commercial ships.

The two P-3s and the patrol boat were diverted from Operation Rai Balong. Operation Rai Balong is a bilateral regional maritime surveillance operation that targets illegal fishing.

A total of 6,099 square miles have been searched since the skiff went missing. The Coast Guard, Navy, Australia and the FSS Micronesia continue searches west and northwest of Chuuk Atoll. Chuuk Atoll is approximately 621 miles south east of Guam.

The 14th Coast Guard District encompasses an area of 12.2 million square miles of the Central and South Pacific.