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Lost and found American sailors chided for no EPIRBs or HF

by Sail-World Cruising round-up on 25 Jan 2011
The Pineapple, found safe after search - chided for no HF/EPIRB SW
Five Americans including a member of the U.S. Air Force on the catamaran The Pineapple have been reprimanded by the U.S. Coast Guard for not having sufficient communications gear to stop an unnecessary full scale search between the Philippines and Guam. They also had not filed a float plan, and had no EPIRBs on board.

When the catamaran was overdue on a voyage from Guam to Cebu in the Philippines, U.S. Coast Guard had deployed a HC-130 Hercules aircraft, two Navy P-3 Orion planes, two Air Force C-12s and a patrol ship to search an area of 122,600 square nautical miles (317,530 square kilometers) for more than 63 hours. This does not include the search and rescue operation carried out by Philippine authorities in their waters.

The catamaran had struck rough weather, which had damaged its rudder and caused radio problems. There were four men and one woman on board, but the names have not been released. The search finally came to an end when they came into cell phone range and the woman phoned her husband to give their coordinates.

A Philippine coast guard ship reached the 38-foot (11-meter) catamaran on Sunday after it was spotted by plane the previous day. The plane was not immediately able to confirm the boat's identity, however, Philippine coast guard chief Adm. Wilfredo Tamayo said.

Rescuers escorted the vessel — one of its rudders damaged — to a port on Leyte Island, where the crew refueled, got their passports stamped and treated themselves to a meal, the coast guard said.

'I'm elated for the family and friends of the Pineapple, but compelled to point out that this voyage was made without taking basic, commonsense precautions,' Capt. Thomas Sparks, U.S. Coast Guard Guam commander, told Associated Press.
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