Coast Guard assists man in rowboat

The Maui News

The Coast Guard Cutter Oliver Berry from Oahu was towing an 18-foot disabled rowboat with one man aboard, who was traveling from California to China, to Kahului Harbor on Tuesday, the U. S. Coast Guard said.

Ruihn Yu, a 32-year-old Chinese national, was on a trans-Pacific voyage from Richmond, Calif., to China and Taiwan in his 18-foot vessel when he experienced communication failures as well as a damaged rudder about 35 miles northeast of Maui, the Coast Guard said. He has spent five months at sea, having departed Richmond on June 9.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Honolulu first learned of Yu’s situation at 8:16 a.m. Tuesday via a relayed call from Coast Guard Sector San Francisco. A friend of Yu reported the sailor in a potentially distressed situation based on a text message received from Yu on a two-way satellite communication device.

At 8:35 a.m. Tuesday, Coast Guard Sector Honolulu command center watchstanders issued a marine broadcast requesting mariners in the area to be on watch for Yu’s vessel and launched an HC-130 Hercules airplane from Coast Guard Station Barbers Point, the Coast Guard said.

Arriving an hour later, the aircrew dropped a VHF radio to Yu, who relayed his problems to the crew, the Coast Guard said. He did say he was in no immediate danger and did not have any health issues.

The 154-foot fast response cutter Oliver Berry, homeported in Honolulu, also responded and was bringing the boat in. The cutter was expected to rendezvous with a small boat from Station Maui, which would tow Yu’s boat into the harbor, the Coast Guard said.