Thursday, April 24, 2008

Amateur Radio Operators and Coast Guards Worldwide Cooperate to Perform MAYDAY Rescue

At 03:00Z on the Saturday Pacific seafarers ham radio net, controller Randy KH6RC in his Ocean View, Hawaii radio shack, received a relay from Patricia ZL2RK aboard SV Chameleon, at Aur Atoll in the Marshall Islands. She had contacted RCC New Zealand at 02:45z to declare a MAYDAY for SV Windswept, a 62 foot trimaran. The trimaran had been dismasted [80ft mast] in the Marshal Islands. There were two people on board, husband and wife, both in there 70's. They had communicated with SV Chameleon by marine SSB, as they do not have a ham radio license. The New Zealand Coast Guard declared the boat out of their domain, and said they would forward the request to the US Coast Guard.

Randy KH6RC on the Big island of Hawaii was requested to contact RCC Honolulu to follow up with US Coast Guard. At 03:20Z Randy called 808-535-3333 and confirmed contact with Newzeland Coast Guard. They determined that the Australian patrol boat, LOMAX, was in the area and could be deployed out of Majuro to locate the distressed vessel, Windswept. At 21:20z Sunday, Randy received word from the US Coastguard in Honolulu that the Australian patrol boat Lomax had:

#1 located the distressed vessel Windswept
#2 Had performed engineering assistance
#3 Was in the process of escorting distressed vessel Windswept back to Majuro, Marshal Islands.

The crew on Windswept was able to set up an emergency HF antenna to maintain an hourly schedule on frequency 8173 SSB. This greatly assisted the coast guards and radio operators in locating them and providing assistance.

A special thanks goes out to the coastguards of Newzeland, Australia,
and United States of America for a job well done. Also to ham radio operators worldwide for keeping their ears open to those in need.

Aloooha,Randy KH6RC