Chinese commercial vessel joins search for missing sailor

Beijing, Oct 30 (IANS) A Chinese commercial vessel joined the search for the Chinese sailor Guo Chuan who has been missing for nearly five days while trying to break the record for crossing the Pacific alone.

The ship, named “Ruian City” from China COSCO Shipping Group, was on its routine route between Hawaii and Japan when it received messages for help on Saturday, Xinhua news agency reported.

“I received calls both from Guo Chuan’s team and the China Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre, asking for our assistance in searching for Guo Chuan,” said Ruian City captain Ding Jianwu.

At the request, five more lookout positions were added on the ship while the ship already scoured several spots where the 51-year-old mariner could possibly drift to.

Guo was suspected of falling overboard on October 25, 900 km off Hawaii.

“We are using every possible tools, the radar and our naked eyes in a bid to find Guo. We will spare no effort in the search of the captain,” said Ding, adding “I hope there will be a miracle and pray for Captain Guo.”

Guo’s support team and his family were desperate on looking for other ways to keep the search going after the US Coast Guard suspended their efforts on Thursday. The USCG located Guo’s trimaran and then sent a boat and crew aboard the vessel but found no trace of Guo except his life jacket.

The team said a travel company in Hawaii has offered to provide five to 10 helicopters to search the missing sailor, but they need larger ships with helipads.

“These helicopters can fly 500 km without stopping but the site of the accident is 900 km off Hawaii. We need large ships which have helicopter platforms and equipment to refuel the choppers.”

Before the accident, Guo was attempting to sail from San Francisco to Shanghai in 20 days or less for a new solo trans-Pacific world record.

Guo already had a world record to his name for a 138-day solo non-stop circumnavigation in 2013.