SANTA RITA, Guam -- The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Myrtle Hazard (WPC 1139) delivered emergency supplies including water and food to the island of Kayangel, Saturday.
The mission was in response to a national emergency declared by President Surangel Whipps Jr. of Palau after Typhoon Surigae devastated the region last week.
“Today, our crew had a unique opportunity to conduct one of the most satisfying missions the United States Coast Guard is known for, humanitarian aid,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Andrew Johnson, a coxswain aboard the Myrtle Hazard. “We were extremely excited to be able to offer help, which for a small island such as Kayangel makes a major impact. I am proud I was able to be a part of it.”
Last week the slow moving typhoon made landfall in Palau bringing significant rainfall and heavy winds. The storm caused flooding and resulted in damage to homes and properties throughout the islands.
On April 18, the president of Palau declared a national emergency and made an official request to the United States embassy for assistance. Capt. Christopher Chase, commander, Coast Guard Sector Guam and Ambassador John Hennessey-Niland, U.S. Embassy Koror, spoke by phone and determined what supplies were needed and the best method to deliver them.
At the time the Myrtle Hazard’s crew was conducting an illegal, unreported and unregulated fisheries patrol north of Guam and was recalled back to homeport for the humanitarian mission.
On Guam, supplies were being donated and collected by a number of different organizations including the Chief Petty Officers Association Marianas Chapter, the U.S Naval Base Chapel, the Orotte Commissary, the Ngaraad Club of Guam, the Kayangel Club of Guam, and the Guam Paluan community.
The cutter then departed Guam for the 800 nautical mile transit to Palau with the supplies.
Upon arriving in Palau the crew worked closely with the government and the U.S. embassy to coordinate a safe, contactless transfer of the supplies to Kayangel and to ensure the safety of both the people of Palau and the cutters crew while conserving the nation's vital medical supplies.
“It’s a rewarding mission to deliver aid whenever required,” said Lt. Tony Seleznick, the Myrtle Hazard’s commanding officer. “This operation exemplified the great partnership between the U.S. and the Republic of Palau. The crew of Myrtle Hazard performed excellently and highlighted why the U.S. Coast Guard is the world’s best Coast Guard.”
*all dates and times are in Chamorro Standard Time