More than 1,000 ships affiliated with the China Overseas Shipping Company (COSCO) have been ordered keep to keep watch along trans-Pacific routes for solo Chinese yachtsman Guo Chuan who has been missing since October 25.
One of the ships, the Ruian City was sailing from Hawaii to Japan when it received calls for assistance on Saturday, Xinhua reported.
“I received calls both from Guo’s team and the China Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre asking for our assistance to help search for him,” the ship’s captain Ding Jianwu was quoted as saying.
Five additional lookout positions were added to the ship as it scoured several area where the 51-year-old mariner could have possibly drifted to.
Guo is believed to have fallen overboard on Tuesday about 900km from Hawaii and his team said he might have been wearing a life jacket at the time.
“We are using every possible tool – radar, binoculars and our naked eyes to help find Guo. We will spare no effort in the search,” Ding said.
Guo was attempting to sail from San Francisco to Shanghai in 20 days or less to set a new solo trans-Pacific record.
Guo already had a world record to his name for a 138-day solo non-stop circumnavigation in 2013.
Crew from the USS Makin Island who boarded Guo’s 97-foot trimaran the Qingdoa China 1,000km northwest of the Hawaiian island of Oahu, said Guo was not on board. They found a life jacket on the vessel.
The boarding crew lowered the sails and collected Guo’s belongings for his family, but left the boat adrift at sea as they were unable to salvage it.
A search by the US Coast Guard was suspended on Thursday, leaving Guo’s support team and his family desperately looking for alternatives to continue the search.
The team said a travel company in Hawaii had offered to provide five to 10 helicopters to search for the missing sailor, but they needed larger ships with helipads.
These helicopters could only fly 500km without refuelling, far shorter than the distance from land where where the boat was found.
The Chinese consulate in Los Angeles had earlier urged the US authorities to exert “greater efforts” in the search.
In a sailing diary entry for October 20 posted by his team Guo said that listening to a recording of his two sons’ laughter on his computer was “the world’s most beautiful song, one that puts me most at ease”.
Guo had previously said his greatest fear was falling into the sea and being separated from his ship when he was sailing solo, Xinhua reported.