Search Continues for Passenger that Jumped Off Cruise Ship

The search continues for a passenger reported overboard from a cruise ship approximately 750 miles northeast of Hilo Wednesday.

Flickr Photo

Flickr Photo

The total search area currently covers approximately 7,000 square miles.

Two Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules airplane crews searched an area of approximately 3,000 square miles.

A Navy P-3 Orion airplane crew from Navy Patrol Squadron FOUR based at Marine Corps Base Kaneohe also joined the search Thursday and has covered approximately 4,300 square miles. As part of the AMVER program, the commercial tug and barge Moku Pahu has searched approximately 127 square miles. The Grand Princess also continues to search.

Watchstanders at the Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center were notified at approximately 1 p.m. Wednesday by the crew of the Grand Princess that an American female was overboard. The initial report stated the passenger was 30 years old, but recent information indicates she is 54 years old.

The passenger was last seen at approximately 12 p.m. Wednesday.

AMVER, sponsored by the United States Coast Guard, is a unique, computer-based, and voluntary global ship reporting system used worldwide by search and rescue authorities to arrange for assistance to persons in distress at sea. With Amver, rescue coordinators can identify participating ships in the area of distress and divert the best-suited ship or ships to respond.

For more information, contact the 14th Coast Guard District public affairs office at (808) 535-3230.

Cruise Passenger in Hawaii Jumps Ship… Still Not Found

Statement from Grand Princess on Overboard Passenger:

Today aboard Grand Princess at approximately 1 pm ship’s time (2 pm PST) while the ship was en route to Hawaii from San Francisco, a passenger was witnessed intentionally going overboard, and this was confirmed by Closed Circuit TV.

Flickr Photo

Flickr Photo

The incident happened as the ship was approximately 650 miles northeast of Hilo, Hawaii.

Upon being notified by a witness, the ship turned around and began searching in the area where the passenger was seen going overboard. The passenger, who is a 54-year-old woman and a US citizen, has not yet been located.

We immediately notified both the U.S. Coast Guard and FBI.

Grand Princess is on day 3 of a 15-day Hawaii cruise sailing round-trip from San Francisco.

Public’s Help Sought in Locating Missing Oahu Mariner

The Coast Guard is asking for the public’s assistance in locating a mariner last seen departing Ala Wai boat harbor Thursday evening.

The Coast Guard asks for assistance in locating 60-year-old Greg Stephanoff last seen departing Ala Wai boat harbor on his 42-foot Catalina sloop, "C:DRIVE."

The Coast Guard asks for assistance in locating 60-year-old Greg Stephanoff last seen departing Ala Wai boat harbor on his 42-foot Catalina sloop, “C:DRIVE”.

Greg Stephanoff departed the Ala Wai boat harbor alone on his 42-foot Catalina Sloop, C:Drive, at approximately 8 p.m. Thursday. His destination was unknown and he has not been heard from since.

Stephanoff’s vessel is white with a grey canvas dodger over the cockpit. Stephanoff is 60 years old, approximately five feet eleven inches tall and 160 pounds. He was last seen wearing khaki cargo shorts and a beige aloha shirt.

Greg Stephanoff

Greg Stephanoff

Stephanoff mentioned to friends wanting to sail to Hanalei Bay on the north shore of Kauai, but a float plan was not filed.

The Coast Guard is asking all mariners to report any sightings to the Coast Guard over VHF marine radio channel 16 or to contact the Sector Honolulu Command Center at 808-842-2600.

 

Search to Resume Tomorrow for Missing Kayaker Off the Big Island

Land, Aerial and Dive searches were conducted by Fire and Rescue companies from the South Kohala and Kailua-Kona Fire Stations in hopes of locating a 66 year old male who was separated from his vessel while fishing off the Kawaihae coast.

A Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter

A Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter

The victims vessel was found adrift, prompting a coordinated search utilizing resources from the Hawaii Fire Department, USCG, DLNR and Hawaii Police Department. The victim has not been found.  USCG will search through the night. HFD will resume it’s search at first light in the morning.

Situation Found at Scene:
Missing Kayaker, a 66 year old male separated from his vessel. Kayak was found adrift approximately 300 yards north of  the Kawaihae Harbor mouth and approximately 50 yards from shore.  The Kayaker was last seen on his kayak around 10:00 am by boaters in the area.

 

Coast Guard Conducts Harbor Tour with Rep. Tulsi Gabbard

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard met with the U.S. Coast Guard on Oahu and conducted a tour of Honolulu Harbor, Friday.

Tulsi Coast Guard

Rear Adm. Charles W. Ray, 14th Coast Guard District commander, hosted the tour and provided Gabbard an up close look at Coast Guard operations in and around the Port of Honolulu. Gabbard received a briefing at the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu command center where she observed how the Coast Guard conducts search and rescue cases, responds to pollution incidents and maintains a law enforcement presence.

Tulsi Coast Guard Captain

She also visited the Coast Guard Cutters Morgenthau and Kukui where she spoke with the commanding officers and crew about their missions in Hawaii and throughout the Pacific.

 

Search Underway for Possible Person in Water Near Kailua-Kona

The Coast Guard is searching for a possible person in the water after a personal watercraft was found adrift near Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, Thursday.

A blue wave runner was found by a commercial fishing vessel two miles west of Kailua-Kona and returned to its owner at Jet Ski Island. The watercraft was confirmed to belong to a local rental company, who suspected an attempted theft may have occurred.

A Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter

A Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter

A Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew was diverted to conduct a search of the area and has been on scene since approximately 10 a.m. Big Island Fire is assisting with a surface asset and shoreline search of the area.

The Coast Guard requests that anyone with information on the possible person in distress please contact the Sector Honolulu Command Center at (808) 842-2600.

 

Coast Guard Sentinels to Continue Hawaiian Watch

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Honolulu are called to action by a urgent request for assistance. A vessel captain reports that his 24-foot charter vessel, the Mellow Yellow, is disabled six miles east of the Big Island of Hawaii with two people aboard. The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Kiska launches as they have done so many times before.

The charter vessel Mellow Yellow, center, is escorted back to Hilo by the crew aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Kiska, foreground, March 3, 2013, approximately six miles off the coast of the Big Island of Hawaii. Kiska crewmembers responded to the disabled boat after receiving a report stating the Mellow Yellow had a steering malfunction. Kiska engineers boarded the Mellow Yellow and made temporary repairs to assist the crew by making a rudder system out of wood and rope. Kiska crewmembers remained aboard and escorted the Mellow Yellow back to shore and completed a post search and rescue boarding. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

The charter vessel Mellow Yellow, center, is escorted back to Hilo by the crew aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Kiska, foreground, approximately six miles off the coast of the Big Island of Hawaii. Kiska crewmembers responded to the disabled boat after receiving a report stating the Mellow Yellow had a steering malfunction. Kiska engineers boarded the Mellow Yellow and made temporary repairs to assist the crew by making a rudder system out of wood and rope. Kiska crewmembers remained aboard and escorted the Mellow Yellow back to shore and completed a post search and rescue boarding. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

Chief Petty Officer Jacob Buckley, a machinery technician stationed aboard the 110-foot Island Class patrol boat, noted that conditions were far from optimal. Fighting through eight to 10-foot seas and 20-knot winds, the crew arrived on scene and managed to lower their small boat into the water to render assistance. Once aboard the Mellow Yellow, they inspected the entire steering system to see if repairs were possible.

“After seeing there was no way to make repairs to the installed steering system, we had two options,” Buckley said. The options were either tow the Mellow Yellow and crew back to shore or try to rig an emergency steering system and drive them back to Hilo. With daylight waning and a tow requiring reduced speeds, the crew decided to improvise.

Buckley and other crewmembers made an emergency steering system by rigging a six-foot board to the left outboard engine. They secured it in place using duct tape, 20-feet of line and a little ingenuity, allowing the vessel to be steered as they escorted it back to shore.

Chief Petty Officer Jacob L. Buckley, a machinery technician from the Coast Guard Cutter Kiska, helps steer the Mellow Yellow back to shore, March 3, 2013 approximately six miles off the Big Island of Hawaii. Kiska crewmembers responded to the disabled boat after receiving a report stating the Mellow Yellow had a steering malfunction. Kiska engineers boarded the Mellow Yellow and made temporary repairs to assist the crew by making a rudder system out of wood and rope. Kiska crewmembers remained aboard and escorted the Mellow Yellow back to shore and completed a post search and rescue boarding. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

Chief Petty Officer Jacob L. Buckley, a machinery technician from the Coast Guard Cutter Kiska, helps steer the Mellow Yellow back to shore, approximately six miles off the Big Island of Hawaii. Kiska crewmembers responded to the disabled boat after receiving a report stating the Mellow Yellow had a steering malfunction. Kiska engineers boarded the Mellow Yellow and made temporary repairs to assist the crew by making a rudder system out of wood and rope. Kiska crewmembers remained aboard and escorted the Mellow Yellow back to shore and completed a post search and rescue boarding. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

The 23-year-old Kiska, home-ported on the Big Island of Hawaii, is one of two 110-foot Island Class patrol boats in the Hawaiian Islands. The second, the Coast Guard Cutter Galveston Island, is home-ported in Honolulu. Since the 1980’s, the 20-person crews aboard these vessels have conducted search and rescue, law enforcement and environmental protection missions throughout the Hawaiian Islands and the Pacific.

The Coast Guard Cutter Galveston Island, a 110-foot Island Class patrol boat, sits on stilts at a dry dock in Honolulu, Feb. 14, 2013. The Galveston Island is having maintenance done in order to extend the cutter's service life. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Anthony L. Soto)

The Coast Guard Cutter Galveston Island, a 110-foot Island Class patrol boat, sits on stilts at a dry dock in Honolulu.  The Galveston Island is having maintenance done in order to extend the cutter’s service life. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Anthony L. Soto)

Despite the capabilities of these ships, most of the 110’s in the Coast Guard are past their intended service life, established when a ship is designed. As cutters age, crewmembers endure numerous engineering challenges in keeping them operational. Continued heavy use requires constant maintenance and repair. These needs are increasingly preventing the crews from being able to perform their designated missions.

“The cutter does experience casualties. They range from sewage issues, gray-water issues, exhaust leaks, minor system malfunctions to something larger,” said Chief Petty Officer David Jones, a machinery technician and the Galveston Island engineering officer. “Usually they’re small problems, but they take time to fix, and they add up.”

Due to the age of the Galveston Island and Kiska, some parts are no longer available from the manufacturer or the manufacturer is no longer in business. That being the case, getting underway highly depends on whether or not the part that is needed is essential to the ship’s functioning.

The combined issues cost the crews valuable time and reduce service to the people of the Hawaiian Islands, Jones noted. As maintenance issues become more complex the potential impact on mission execution increases. In the context of a search and rescue case this could lead to loss of life.

The delicate balance between maintenance and operations has not gone unnoticed and efforts are being undertaken at the highest levels of the service to ensure the missions and service of the Coast Guard patrol boat fleet are maintained.

“Parts availability and conditions of the ships have been key considerations in the decision to bring new ships to the fleet,” said Lt. Justin Nadolny, a Fast Response Cutter sponsor representative at the Coast Guard’s Office of Cutter Forces in Washington D.C.

The Acquisitions Directorate, the office in charge of recapitalization projects, has worked with industry partners to develop the Sentinel Class Fast Response Cutter. This new class of ship features an array of new technologies, communications systems and living quarters for the crew. Four of these ships are already in use in Miami and two are set to be stationed in Hawaii within the next decade.

“The FRC’s offer significantly improved sea keeping over the 110,” Nadolny said. “It has a much better ability to launch its small boat and improved crew habitability.” Nadolny also pointed out that the FRC’s are capable of traveling farther than the 110’s, an important factor in Hawaii’s vast area of operations.

Today, two 110-foot patrol boats provide essential missions to the Hawaiian Islands and beyond, but due to the increase of maintenance issues, their time is running out. With the introduction of the Sentinel Class Fast Response Cutter, a new and capable platform will provide the Hawaiian community with readiness they can rely for generations to come.