The following is the text of a news release from the U.S. Coast Guard:
(APRA HARBOR, Guam) — Twenty-four crewmembers are safe after abandoning ship approximately 440 miles west of Guam Monday.
At 8 a.m. Sunday, watchstanders at the Coast Guard Sector Guam Command Center received report of flooding from the 500-foot cargo ship Rich Forest.
The ship, carrying logs enroute to China, experienced flooding in the engine room and subsequent loss of propulsion. The Chinese crew reported the vessel was taking on 160 tons of water per hour and generators had failed.
Coast Guard watchstanders in Guam identified four merchant vessels to provide assistance under the Automated Mutual Assistance Vessel Rescue System.
The Coast Guard Cutters Assateague and Sequoia were deployed from Guam but were 18 hours away.
At 1:21 p.m., the Rich Forest’s crew entered life rafts and abandoned ship.
At 4:40 p.m., the AMVER Vessel CS Sunshine completed the rescue of all survivors from life rafts and safely brought them aboard without incident. The crew of the Rich Forest will be taken aboard the Assateague once it arrives on scene. The CS Sunshine will continue on to its next port of call in Japan.
The Rich Forest remains unpowered and adrift. The Coast Guard will be issuing a broadcast notice to mariners to warn any ships in the area of the hazard to navigation and to report the location of the adrift vessel.
AMVER, sponsored by the United States Coast Guard, is a unique, computer-based, and voluntary global ship reporting system used worldwide by search and rescue authorities to arrange for assistance to persons in distress at sea. With AMVER, rescue coordinators can identify participating ships in the area of distress and divert the best-suited ship or ships to respond. Prior to sailing, participating ships send a sail plan to the AMVER computer center. Vessels then report every 48 hours until arriving at their port of call. This data is able to project the position of each ship at any point during its voyage. In an emergency, any rescue coordination center can request this data to determine the relative position of AMVER ships near the distress location. On any given day there are over 3,700 ships available to carry out search and rescue services.