Mariner Assisted After 5-month Journey across Pacific
A boatcrew from the Coast Guard Cutter Robert Ward boards the homemade vessel of a 78-year-old mariner in distress off the coast of California, Nov. 14, 2019. The mariner started his journey in Japan and was headed to San Francisco before requiring assistance from the Coast Guard after being at sea for five months. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)
Source: U.S. Coast Guard
The Coast Guard assisted a 78-year-old man aboard a homemade sailing vessel, Thursday, after he ran out of supplies during a five-month journey across the Pacific Ocean.
On October 29, the brother of the mariner notified Coast Guard District 11 command center watchstanders that his brother departed Japan at the end of May and was expected to arrive in San Francisco in late August. Due to a lack of wind, the man aboard the sailing vessel Mayfly was delayed by two months, depleting his food and water supply.
District watchstanders requested assistance from a nearby Automated Mutual-Assistance Vessel Rescue System vessel, the motor vessel Tamesis, to provide rations to the distressed mariner. The Tamesis arrived on scene and delivered the rations with no request for additional assistance.
On November 4, district watchstanders received a request for food and water from the mariner who was also experiencing heavy weather approximately 250 nautical miles west of Los Angeles. A nearby AMVER vessel, the motor vessel Umberty, diverted and transferred additional rations.
On Wednesday, district watchstanders notified Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach watchstanders that the mariner was approximately 85 nautical miles southwest of Point Vicente, low on supplies again, and requesting assistance with towing the sailboat. The Coast Guard Cutter Robert Ward was diverted from its patrol to tow the homemade vessel towards Oxnard.
At approximately 3:30 a.m. Thursday, the crew aboard the Robert Ward transferred the tow to a Coast Guard Station Channel Islands Harbor crew. The crew aboard the 45-foot Response Boat-Medium towed the vessel to Station Channel Islands Harbor.
"If this mariner didn't have a float plan and reliable communications ashore, the outcome of this case could have ended up drastically different," said Cmdr. Justin Noggle, the Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach chief of response. "We are relieved that we were able to provide the much-needed assistance to bring him and his vessel back to shore safely."
There were no reports of any injuries.
The homemade vessel, the Mayfly, is moored at Coast Guard Station Channel Islands Harbor in Oxnard, California, after the station towed his vessel in from sea, Nov. 14, 2019. The mariner aboard the Mayfly started his journey at the end of May in Japan and was due to arrive in San Francisco at the end of August but was delayed by two months due to a lack of wind. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Courtney Perea)