The Hallelujar, a 60ft Indonesian-flagged fishing vessel, was adrift for 10 days when on August 13th the AMVER vessel ISL Star received a message from the US Coast Guard that the crew on board was seeking immediate assistance. By the time of the rescue, the eight crew members had run out of food and freshwater.
A ninth survivor had taken the Hallelujar’s only lifeboat with the intention of seeking help. He was later picked up by a Japanese fishing vessel, Kensei Maru 3, which raised the alarm. But because of poor weather, the Japanese trawler was not able able to perform a more extensive search and did not find trace of the drifting fishing boat on its radar.
The alert was routed to a Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC) operating out of the US naval base on Guam, which set off a full-scale search and rescue mission. Unable to establish direct contact with the Kensei Maru 3, the RCC had to depend on information relayed by the Japanese Coast Guard’s station in Okinawa.
Shortly after, the RCC broadcast a message to all ships in the area asking for their support in the rescue operation. ISL Star picked up the request and diverted from its planned course to participate in the search effort.
The next morning, the US naval base dispatched a reconnaissance plane, which started an aerial search for the drifting fishing boat. It was supported by a coast guard vessel deployed from the Micronesian island of Palau.
When ISL Star arrived at Hallelujar’s last reported position, there was no sign of the distressed boat or crew members in the water, so the ship’s master contacted the RCC to ask for a situation update.
After a little wait, the SAR mission coordinators in Guam provided ISL Star with a new search pattern based on latest intelligence. The hunt resumed but no sightings of the Indonesian fishermen or their boat were made.
The RCC offered new information, after the Hallelujar was spotted from the air just 16NM from ISL Star’s current position. The US Navy pilot reports that, after calls made from the vessel to his plane as he passed overhead, he can confirm that all eight crew are alive. The Wallem ship immediately set a course for the stricken boat.
On August 14th the rescue was complete and ISL Star’s Master contacts coordinators at RCC Guam to confirm that all eight fishermen are safe.
All of the crew are well on their health, while after final instructions from RCC Guam, the bulk carrier started steaming to Palau, 160 NM away, where local authorities were waiting to receive and take responsibility for the rescued fishermen
Capt. A. Misra, the Master on board ISL Star, commented:
It was the first experience for my entire crew and myself to rescue life at sea, and I am indeed very proud that we were able to save lives of eight crew members of the fishing vessel. In situations like that working together is important, and through the support of the U.S. Coast Guard and Wallem team ashore, we were able to coordinate a response and successfully rescue the eight mariners. I will cherish this moment for the rest of my life