December 14, 2010 – At 0556 GMT the GEOS International Emergency Response Coordination Center (IERCC) received a SOS alert from a SPOT device. The coordinates showed the unit to be located 393 Nautical Miles (NM) northwest of San Juan, Puerto Rico and 475NM southeast of Hamilton, Bermuda.
Personnel at the GEOS IERCC began attempting to contact the registered owner of the device and the emergency contacts listed on the SPOT unit’s profile in an attempt to gather any additional information regarding the activation without any success. The United States Coast Guard (USCG) was immediately contacted and provided with the information obtained from the registered owners profile and the coordinates received from the device.
The USCG immediately launched a SAR air asset to assist with the search and an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast (UMIB) was transmitted to all vessels that may be near the distress position coordinates. A merchant vessel in response to the UMIB steamed toward the last known position provided by the IERCC to the USCG. Throughout the incident the IERCC remained in contact with the USCG, updating them of any new positions received from the SPOT device.
The USCG reported to the IERCC that a merchant vessel in the area of the activation had responded to a broadcast of a vessel in distress and was able to rescue the two crew members of the ailing vessel involved in the SPOT activation. The vessel the party was on subsequently sank. All parties involved are reported to be in good health.
Used with permission from SPOT LLC