An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : Media : News : News Article View
NEWS | July 12, 2023

French, Canadian, U.S. Forces collaborate with local responders in successful rescue operation off Rota, CNMI

By Chief Warrant Officer Sara Muir, U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia / Sector Guam

French, Canadian, and U.S. Forces, with local responders, successfully conducted a search and rescue operation to save the operator and passengers of a distressed vessel off the coast of Rota, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, on July 10.

Thanks to the coordinated efforts of local partnerships and the utilization of aircraft resources, all 11 people from the center console fishing vessel are safely in Rota.

At 5:05 p.m. on July 10, Watchstanders at U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam's Joint Rescue Sub-Center Guam received a distress call on VHF channel 16 from the operator of the 21-foot vessel Full 20 Horizon, stating the vessel was disabled and adrift in 6-foot seas and 12 mph winds with 11 people aboard, approximately 30 nautical miles northwest of Rota. Due to the lack of GPS onboard and the inability to use a cell phone to acquire a GPS position, the situation became even more critical.

In response, the watchstanders promptly issued an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast, alerting mariners in the area to be aware of the distressed vessel. They also established a 15-minute communications schedule with the vessel operator and instructed the passengers to wear their flotation devices for safety.

Watchstanders initiated coordinated efforts with the CNMI Department of Public Safety in Rota, who launched their 27-foot vessel to aid in the rescue operation. Additionally, partnerships with the U.S. Air Force 36th Wing and U.S. Navy Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 25 at Andersen Air Force Base proved invaluable in securing the assistance of multiple aircraft crews for the response.

Capt. Nick Simmons, commander of U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam, emphasized the importance of aircraft in search and rescue operations at sea, stating, "Aircraft crews play a crucial role in our efforts to save lives in challenging maritime situations. Using aerial assets, combined with our local partnerships, ensures a swift and effective response to distress calls, ultimately increasing the chances of a successful rescue."

A French Air and Space Force A400 Atlas military transport aircraft and crew were the first aircrew to respond, launching from Andersen Air Force Base and locating the vessel at about 8 p.m. after running a search pattern. They worked to vector in the Department of Public Safety crew.

Unfortunately, the initial rescue attempt by the Department of Public Safety's crew was hindered by severe sea conditions as winds increased to 18 mph and seas built to 8 feet, forcing them to abort the mission. However, the French Air and Space Force A400 crew remained on the scene and maintained visual contact with the disabled vessel. Recognizing the severity of the situation, the crew of USCGC Myrtle Hazard (WPC 1139), on a port call in Saipan, was recalled, and watchstanders reengaged with HSC-25 to address the evolving circumstances.

Watchstanders also requested additional overhead support from the U.S. Air Force 36th Wing, who offered a Royal Canadian Air Force HC-130 airplane and crew to replace the French crew due to fuel constraints. At 11:15 p.m., the Canadian crew then on scene informed watchstanders that the lights on the distressed vessel went out, but they maintained visual contact with its position.

The U.S. Navy MH-60 Nighthawk helicopter and crew launched to aid the rescue efforts further. After a swift transit, the Nighthawk crew arrived at approximately 1 a.m. and immediately commenced hoisting the operator and passengers. The aircrew transported those rescued to the Rota airport, where local emergency responders and law enforcement met them. The passengers did not report any injuries, and the aircrew did not observe any.

The Nighthawk and Canadian aircrews returned to Andersen Air Force Base at 2:40 a.m., successfully concluding their part in the rescue operation. Meanwhile, the Myrtle Hazard crew continued their search for the vessel relocating it around 10 a.m. Weather conditions improved, and they will take the vessel in tow to deliver it to Rota.

Nine of the 11 people rescued are reportedly citizens the People’s Republic of China. Local law enforcement in Rota is currently addressing these matters. The U.S. Coast Guard remains committed to working closely with local authorities to ensure the safety of those at sea and the security of our maritime borders.

Notably, the French and Canadian aircraft crews participating in Exercise Mobility Guardian 2023 are contributing their expertise to this successful rescue operation. Exercise Mobility Guardian, Air Mobility Command's largest full-spectrum readiness exercise, involves seven participating countries and supports over 15,000 U.S. forces, Allied, and partner participants in the Indo-Pacific region.

For more information or media inquiries about the multilateral rescue operation, please contact CWO Sara Muir at 671-688-6096 or For information about the vessel or the disposition of the those rescued, please contact the CNMI Department of Public Safety at (670) 664-9035 or




CARAT Indonesia Celebrates 75 Years of Diplomatic Relations Between U.S., Indonesia
May 13, 2024 - The U.S. Navy and Marine Corps began Exercise Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Indonesia 2024 with the Indonesian Navy (TNI-AL) and Marine Corps (KORMAR RI) in Bandar Lampung, Indonesia, May 13...

MV-22B Ospreys touch down in the top end for MRF-D 24.3
U.S. Marine Corps MV-22B Ospreys assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 268 (Reinforced), Marine Rotational Force – Darwin 24.3, take off for the first flight of the MRF-D 24.3 rotation at Port Darwin, Darwin, NT, Australia, May 11, 2024. The Ospreys were flown from Port Darwin to Royal Australian Air Force Base Darwin, where they will be hosted for the duration of the rotation. VMM-268 (Rein.) makes up the Aviation Combat Element, out of Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, completing the structure of the MAGTF with the arrival of 10 MV-22B Ospreys. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by 1st Lt. Colton Martin)
May 13, 2024 - The rumble of U.S. Marine Corps MV-22B Ospreys echoed across Port Darwin and Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Base Darwin as Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 268 (Reinforced) (VMM-268 (Rein.)) arrived as the Aviation Combat...

51st FW F-16 Fighting Falcons take the lead in Red Flag-Alaska 24-1
A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the 36th Fighter Squadron lands on a runway at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, May 8, 2024. The 36th FS aircraft returned from the Red Flag-Alaska 24-1 training event with sustained operational capabilities and improved interoperability with allies. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Senior Airman Kaitlin Frazier)
May 10, 2024 - The 51st Fighter Wing took charge as the lead wing in Red Flag-Alaska 24-1 hosted at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, from April 18 - May 3, 2024...

Philippines and U.S. Conclude Balikatan Exercises, Shoulder-To-Shoulder
Armed Forces of the Philippines Maj. Gen. Marvin L Licudine, Philippines Exercise Director, and Lt. Gen. Michael S. Cederholm, U.S. Exercise Director representative and Commanding General, I Marine Expeditionary Force, furl the exercise flag during the closing ceremony to conclude Exercise Balikatan 24 at Camp Aguinaldo, Manila, Philippines, May 10, 2024. BK 24 is an annual exercise between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the U.S. military designed to strengthen bilateral interoperability, capabilities, trust, and cooperation built over decades of shared experiences. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Pedro Tenorio)
May 10, 2024 - The Armed Forces of the Philippines hosted the closing ceremony of Exercise Balikatan 2024, marking the successful conclusion of the largest annual combined military exercise between the Republic of the Philippines and the...

Philippine, US, Australian Forces Show Off Combined Fires Capabilities, Destroy Ship in Balikatan Training Event
U.S. Airmen assigned to the 13th Fighter Wing conduct preflight checks on a F-16 Fighting Falcon before a maritime strike during Exercise Balikatan 24 at Basa Air Base, Philippines May 8, 2024. Armed Forces of the Philippines, U.S. and Australian military forces integrate land, sea and air platforms to simultaneously sense, target, strike and destroy a decommissioned ship off the western coast of Northern Luzon. BK 24 is an annual exercise between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the U.S. military designed to strengthen bilateral interoperability, capabilities, trust, and cooperation built over decades of shared experiences. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Kyle Chan)
May 10, 2024 - Philippine, U.S. and Australian military forces integrated land, sea and air platforms to simultaneously sense, target, strike and destroy a decommissioned ship off the western coast of Northern Luzon today...