U.S. Navy aircraft joins search and rescue efforts for missing mariners in East China Sea

by Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet Public Affairs
Stripes Okinawa

KADENA, Japan – On Jan. 7, the U.S. Navy sent a P-8A aircraft attached to the ‘Fighting Tigers’ of Patrol Squadron EIGHT (VP-8) to assist in an international search and rescue (SAR) effort in the East China Sea following a collision between two commercial vessels.

After arriving on scene, the aircraft searched an area of approximately 3,600 square nautical miles before returning to Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan. None of the mariners were located.

Chinese-flagged cargo ship, CF Crystal; and Iranian-owned and -operated, Panamanian-flagged MV Sanchi; collided Jan. 6. International search efforts are ongoing for MV Sanchi's 32 missing crew members.

Seventh Fleet, which celebrates its 75th year in 2018, spans more than 124 million square kilometers, stretching from the International Date Line to the India/Pakistan border; and from the Kuril Islands in the North to the Antarctic in the South. Seventh Fleet's area of operation encompasses 36 maritime countries and 50 percent of the world’s population with between 50­70 U.S. ships and submarines, 140 aircraft, and approximately 20,000 Sailors in the 7th Fleet.

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