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Update: Five crew on catamaran found in the Pacific

'The Pineapple’s intended route'    .
The Philippine Coast Guard has located the missing catamaran that went off the radar for several days after they were expected to arrive in Cebu, Philippines, according to the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Guam.

All five people on board are safe, confirmed U.S. Coast Guard Search and Rescue Specialist Lee Putnam.


He said the crew aboard the sailboat 'Pineapple' called in around 1:30 p.m. yesterday, as soon as they could get cell phone reception.

The 38-foot catamaran had left Guam's Marianas Yacht Club on Jan 6 bound for the Philippine island.

On Jan. 18, two days after the boat's expected arrival, the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Guam Command Center received multiple reports from concerned family members regarding the boat. Coast Guard officials said weather conditions make sail transits difficult to predict.

Coast Guard Sector Guam spokesman Lt. j.g. Wade Thomson yesterday said the boat had reached Leyte Gulf and was being escorted by the Philippine Coast Guard.

The reason for the boat's delay is still unknown, though Putnam said those details would be given once the boat reaches its destination of Cebu.

Previous report:

A catamaran with five American sailors on board is overdue on a voyage between Guam and Cebu in the central Philippines and a search has been launched. The Philippine coast guard launched a search Friday for the sailing boat The Pineapple which left the Marianas Yacht Club in Agana Harbour on the Pacific island of Guam 15 days ago heading for the central Philippines.

Relatives of the Americans — four men and a woman — alerted the U.S. Coast Guard that the 12 metre catamaran left the US territory of Guam on 6th January but had not reached its destination on Cebu Island, said Philippine coast guard chief Adm. Wilfredo Tamayo. The vessel does not have HF radio or satellite phone on board, making long range communication difficult. It is not known if the yacht has EPIRBs on board.

The voyage of 1200 nautical miles would normally have taken in the vicinity of eight days. Heavy rains and rough seas have been reported in recent weeks in the area.

Tamayo said the U.S. Coast Guard requested a search although it was not clear whether the sailboat had reached Philippine waters. The U.S. Coast Guard also was conducting a search, he said.

The Philippines dispatched two aircraft to scour the waters off central and southern islands, and coast guard detachments and passing ships were alerted to be on the lookout for the sailing boat, Tamayo said.

Office of Civil Defense (OCD) Administrator Benito Ramos said that the PCG is conducting the search and rescue operations near Eastern Visayas and Surigao.

He said the US Coast Guard is also coordinating search and rescue in international waters near the Philippine area of responsibility.

'The seawater condition at the time of their departure from Guam was already moderate to rough due to the effect of the tail-end of a cold front,' Tamayo said.

It is understood that the five crew included a Filipino-American in the U.S. Air Force but no further information has been released.
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9:18 PM Sun 23 Jan 2011 GMT






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