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DPS responds to distressed vessel about 20 miles northwest of Saipan

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(DPS) — On Friday, Oct. 23, 2020, at about 5 p.m., the CNMI Department of Public Safety received a call regarding one  overdue fisherman who left the Fishing Base marina at 5 that morning and was due to return at 1:30 p.m.

The Emergency Operations Center was then immediately notified. At about 5:23 p.m., EOC  made contact via VHF radio with the boat and learned that the vessel was experiencing engine problems. The captain of the vessel notified EOC that the vessel was drifting near a buoy about 15 miles out of Marpi, Saipan.

At about 5:54 p.m., the DPS Zodiac rescue boat was launched followed by the Impact rescue boat.

Sometime around 6:25 p.m., a flare was sighted by officers aboard the two rescue vessels. At about 7 p.m., the Zodiac arrived at the vessel’s location and was followed by the Impact rescue boat shortly after.

The operator was asked if he needed any medical attention to which he said he was OK and did not need any. The Impact rescue boat began towing the vessel back to shore while the Zodiac followed behind. All three vessels made their way to the Smiling Cove Marina. At about 8:02 p.m., they arrived safely at the marina.

Police learned that the operator left the Fishing Base marina by himself and headed north to fish in the Marpi Reef area. At around 12 p.m., he began experiencing engine problems while near the Banzai Cliff area. He tried to make an emergency call but could not get a signal from his cellphone. He continued to drift west until he made contact with EOC via VHF radio. EOC advised him to shoot a flare as two rescue boats were already out in the waters looking for his vessel. Once he shot the first flare DPS rescue vessels managed to pinpoint his location before towing him into shore.

The vessel was inspected and was found to be in compliance and with all safety equipment aboard.

DPS encourages boaters to notify friends and/or family members about your fishing route or what area you plan to be fishing and what time you expect to return. If you are having troubles out in the water call in to Channel 16 on your VHF radio when you need help, or if you would like to report a distressed vessel. If you would like to report a crime or an emergency, call 911 anytime. Your CNMI law enforcement officers care for your safe return home.

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