The Global Maritime Distress Safety System (GMDSS) and a signal from an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) detected by a satellite in low earth orbit above the Pacific Ocean reportedly contributed to the rescue of five sailors.
Over the weekend a fire broke out in the engine room of the 93-ft. Solomon Islands cargo vessel Haurosi; disabling the ship approximately 60 NM northwest of Saipan. A 406 Mega Hertz EPIRB carried by the ship was activated; transmitting a radio distress signal that was detected by a satellite orbiting the earth over 1,200 miles away. The satellite relayed the distress alert to a ground station here on Guam which passed the alert to U.S. Coast Guard Rescue Sub-Center Guam.
In response to the alert the U.S. Coast Guard requested assistance from US Navy Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 25 and from USNS Shasta, a Military Sealift Command ship. A rescue helicopter from HSC-25 located the disabled ship at 8 PM and deployed a rescue swimmer
to investigate. After confirming that the fire was out and that the crewmen of Haurosi were uninjured, the helicopter departed to rendezvous with USNS Shasta to be refueled. Once refueled the helicopter launched again to re-locate Haurosi and direct USNS Shasta to the disabled ship's position. (Source: www.saipantribune.com)