Maintenance window scheduled to begin at February 14th 2200 est. until 0400 est. February 15th


Forgot Password?

    Defense Visual Information Distribution Service Logo

    Search and rescue partners respond to false activation of EPIRB on Saipan

    Search and rescue partners respond to false activation of EPIRB on Saipan

    Courtesy Photo | A U.S. Navy MH-60S Knighthawk helicopter crew from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 25...... read more read more

    SANTA RITA, Guam — Multiple local, federal, and maritime partners responded to an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon, or EPIRB, activating Saipan on Sept. 6.

    An EPIRB is a vital search and rescue distress tool, and it transmits a signal picked up by a satellite which then informs the team at the nearest U.S. Coast Guard rescue coordination center.

    “In this case, the activation seems accidental,” said Senior Chief Petty Officer Brian Koji, U.S. Coast Guard Joint Rescue Sub-Center supervisor. “In the case of an accidental EPIRB activation in Guam or Oceania, contact the U.S. Coast Guard Joint Rescue Sub-Center in Guam at 671-355-4800 and provide them with the beacon’s ID to cancel the false alert. This action prevents unnecessary searches and keeps responders fresh to address emergent cases.”

    The EPIRB involved in this case was registered by a previous owner, and that person relocated to the U.S. mainland after selling the associated boat in 2016. The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Bureau of Motor Vehicles, responsible for maintaining boat registrations, could not find a valid registration beyond 2016, meaning the new owner of the vessel and EPIRB did not register their boat as required by law.

    As a result, CNMI Department of Public Safety teams searched the east side of Saipan and conducted vessel checks at Smiley Cove Marina with no successful results. The prepositioned ships anchored on the west side of Saipan used their equipment to narrow down a potential search area.

    A U.S. Navy MH-60S Knighthawk helicopter crew from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 25 out of Anderson Air Force Base with an embarked U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia member deployed. Using a handheld direction finder, they flew over several points on Saipan and homed in on a location on Capitol Hill with a boat in its yard.

    The U.S. Coast Guard dispatched an officer, along with members of DPS, to conduct interviews of persons with homes in Capitol Hill with registered boats, and no residents confirmed they owned an EPIRB. However, after these visits, the EPIRB signal ceased indicating a depleted battery or someone switching it off.

    Beacon registration is free, easy, and required by law. Federal law requires registration of all EPIRBs in the NOAA SARSAT Beacon Registration Database, free and accessible to all beacon owners, at

    Owners must validate their beacon information every two years to ensure their contact information is up-to-date. Current beacon owner information allows search and rescue responders to work more efficiently and can decrease response time during distress situations.

    Search and rescue personnel respond immediately to every activation of a distress beacon. It also narrows down search areas considerably and allows responders to reach someone in distress much faster than if they only have a report of where a mariner intended to go. As a reminder, accidental activations happen, but calling to cancel false alerts is non-punitive, helps protect SAR personnel, and ensures valuable resources are available to respond to actual distress cases.




    Date Taken: 09.08.2022
    Date Posted: 09.08.2022 00:52
    Story ID: 428787
    Location: SAIPAN, MP
    Hometown: SANTA RITA, GU

    Web Views: 144
    Downloads: 0