HM Coastguard calls for skippers to update systems following yacht sinking

26 Nov 19

The UK Coastguard has called for theskippers of commercial and pleasure craft to keep a vessel’s registrationdetails up to date following the sinking of a sailing yacht off the Indonesiancoast. 

The incident that prompted the pleaoccurred last Friday 22nd November. The Australian maritime authority(JRCC Australia) received a HF DCS Distress alert from what appeared to be theUK registered vessel, Asia

HM Coastguard in the UK, were dulyinformed and investigations commenced, searching relevant databases for thevessel’s contact details. None were found on the UK register. However, the UKCoastguard, which can monitor beacon alerts globally, had noticed that a US registeredEPIRB, (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) had been activated in asimilar area as the HF DSC Distress. 


Making contact with the skipper’swife, the HM Coastguard used the identification number of the beacon to confirmthat it was the one carried onboard the distressed vessel, Asia. It wasalso confirmed that the yacht was registered in Malaysia and was on passage toThailand with four people onboard, including two British citizens. Contact wasthen made with the Malaysian authorities to coordinate assistance to thestricken vessel.

The following morning, afterextensive investigation work by the UK Coastguard, the skipper was contactedand confirmed that the vessel had sunk after hitting an object in the water.All four crew had got onboard the RHIB tender, discovered they were 55 nauticalmiles north of an Indonesian island and headed toward the nearest point ofland. The crew are now safe and well and receiving assistance having been metby the Marine Police at Bima. 

Keeping details up to date

If the registry details of the vesselhad been kept up to date it would have helped determine the location of thevessel and enabled a more rapid rescue response. 

In this instance, no harm was doneand HM Coastguard Controller David Jones, who coordinated the overnight investigationin the National Maritime Operations Centre, says: “We are relieved to hear thatthe crew are now safely ashore. This incident demonstrated good internationalworking between the UK Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre, JRCC Australia,JRCC Jakarta, USA Mission Control Centre and the UK Foreign and CommonwealthOffice.” 

If any of a vessel’s registry detailschange, both the new country of registry and the old need to be informed. Toseek advice, contact the UK Beacon Register via or email

The RYA is also highlightingits own advice and information about beacon use at