SANTA RITA, Guam -- Following the devastating impact of Typhoon Mawar, U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia Sector Guam, MAT/WAT Guam, and USCGC Sequoia (WLB 215) crews are actively assessing the situation and coordinating maritime response efforts, on May 25, 2023.
This update is an initial damage assessment update on the status of the affected U.S. Coast Guard and personnel, port areas, and our ongoing operations. Watches are being set, and reconstitution is in progress.
As of the morning of May 25, responders are aware of three barges, two mobile crane barges, and a derelict vessel that broke free from commercial piers and are now aground in Piti Channel. While there may be some damage to the Mobile Pier facility, responders can confirm the valves are shut, eliminating any immediate fire hazards.
Furthermore, the dry dock at Cabras appears to be either sunk or partially submerged near Pier F3. Additionally, two tug crews abandoned the ship during the storm as they took on water, and other nearby tug crews rescued them. There is concern about the state of the piers in Sumay Cove Marina, on Naval Base Guam, as the small boat harbor suffered some damage, potentially posing challenges for launching the U.S. Coast Guard 45-foot Response Boat-Mediums and 29-foot Response Boat-Smalls used for Search and Rescue (SAR) operations. Crews are actively testing this capability, but the boats themselves weathered the storm well.
Rescue 21 Search and Rescue towers on Guam are temporarily out of service. It is currently unclear whether the damage is permanent or if it is due to power issues. However, crews are working to assess the next steps to restore their functionality. Presently, the only available SAR radio coverage is in Saipan, operating on generators. Fortunately, there have been minimal distress calls from the Guam area of responsibility.
An HC-130 Hercules airplane and crews from U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point left Hawaii with additional resources to conduct port assessments on May 24, overnighted in Kwajalein, and are conducting an overflight of Guam and CNMI. The crew will recover to Saipan. Additional repair and disaster assistance response teams are expected from Hawaii aboard another U.S. Coast Guard aircraft within days.
Additionally, the Port in Guam is closed to traffic and will remain in Port Heavy Weather Condition Zulu until crews complete further assessments. The Captain of the Port anticipates reopening the ports in Saipan and Tinian within 24 hours, pending the confirmation of aids to navigation (ATON) and a more favorable sea state.
Currently, Guam is facing limitations with the ATON constellation and anticipates gaining more insight into its condition shortly. ATON verification in Guam and range board repairs are in progress.
The electronic or eATON in Guam includes Apra Harbor, Agana, the lighted entrance buoy at Agat, and Ritidian and Orote point lights. eATON was successful on the Gulf Coast after hurricanes Irma and Harvey allowed a more rapid opening of ports.
eATON utilizes various electronic devices and systems, such as Automatic Identification System (AIS) and Virtual Aids to Navigation (VATON), to transmit information to mariners. AIS allows vessels to exchange real-time information, including the positions and characteristics of navigation aids. VATON, on the other hand, uses virtual beacons in areas where physical structures are impractical, uneconomical, or temporarily missing.
The crews of the three 154-foot Sentinel-class Fast Response Cutters homeported in Guam are safely moored in Yap, awaiting the all-clear and improved sea state between Yap and Guam. The U.S. Coast Guard continues to prioritize accountability and is cautiously sending personnel into the field to confirm personnel status for those unable to respond to electronic alerts.
The National Weather Service (NWS) Forecast Office advised that although typhoon conditions from Typhoon Mawar passed, the storm's outer winds and rain bands will persist over the island for the next few hours. Tropical storm force winds of 35 mph to 40 mph, with gusts of 45 mph up to 50 mph, are anticipated as Mawar makes its way out of the Marianas. Guam remains in Condition of Readiness (COR) 1.
Remain in shelter within sturdy concrete homes with concrete roofs until COR 4 is announced. In addition to the tropical-storm-force winds, hazardous surf and seas remain. Remain out of the water due to life-threatening conditions. Although Typhoon Mawar is moving northwest of Guam and the Marianas, it has re-strengthened, and Mawar's current track puts the risk of the highest surf along the west and north-facing reefs. Dangerous surf persists along western and northern coastlines due to a large swell generated by Mawar.
U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia Sector Guam crews remain committed to responding to the aftermath of Typhoon Mawar aligned and in concert with our territorial and federal colleagues and ensuring the safety and well-being of affected communities in Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
The team will provide further updates as more information becomes available and continue to coordinate with the Joint Information Center. The JIC can be reached at Information Center at +1 (671) 478-0208/09/10, and updates are posted to https://ghs.guam.gov.