On December 20, 2012, President Obama signed into law the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2012 (H.R. 2838). The Act went into effect on the first of this year. This bill reverses the previously proposed cuts to U.S. Coast Guard funding, site, and personnel and instead designates to the Coast Guard $8.6 billion for fiscal year 2013 and $8.7 billion for fiscal year 2014 for its service operations.
On June 23, around 8:30 a.m., a crewmember aboard 732-foot Singapore-flagged container ship MAERSK BINTAN sent out a call that a crewmate was missing and thought to have gone overboard. According to reports, MAERSK BINTAN was about 750 miles southeast of Bermuda at the time.
Two separate, successful rescues of sailing crews occurred during the past week, thanks to the Automated Mutual Assistance Vessel Rescue System (AMVER). Originating after the TITANIC tragedy, AMVER has developed into a computer-based, voluntary-enrollment global reporting system managed by the U.S. Coast Guard and used by maritime rescue authorities worldwide to alert and divert nearby AMVER-enrolled ships to aid mariners in peril.
On March 10, cruise ship STAR PRINCESS passed within range of three stranded Panamanian fishermen, one of whom was seen to be waving a red cloth up and down by passengers aboard STAR PRINCESS. Yet, there was no rescue that day, and over two weeks later, on March 24, only one of the three fishermen were found alive near the Galapagos Islands by another fishing vessel.
On Saturday, April 21, 70-foot Taiwanese F/V HSIN MAN CHUN caught fire, compelling the ten-person crew to abandon ship. The Coast Guard at Guam received an EPIRB signal from HSIN MAN CHUN at around 4:30 p.m., as well as word from a rescue center in Taipei that HSIN MAN CHUN's sister ship had radioed to them that HSIN MAN CHUN was on fire and that her crew were abandoning ship.