Master Navigator “Mau” Piailug Dies on July 12, 2010
Press Release #0710-27
Palikir, Pohnpei – FSM Information Services
July 23, 2010

Palikir, Pohnpei: July 23, 2010 -  Master Navigator Piailug died on July 12, 2010, at 6:30pm on his home island of Satawal, Yap State; he was 78 years old.  Mau Piailug’s passion was ocean seafaring and way-finding; he inspired and taught his own people and many other Pacific Islanders his talents, skills and knowledge in the art of ocean voyaging. 

Master Navigator Piailug rose to become a prominent figure in Micronesia and the Pacific region in the mid 1970’s to the time of his passing, as he undertook his nearly thirty-four year mission of sharing and teaching his knowledge and skills with the Polynesian Voyaging Society of Hawaii.  The Hawaiians had lost their connection to the techniques of traditional ocean navigation despite the fact that the Hawaiian Islands were settled much later than the Micronesian Islands.  Piailug was responsible for the revival of interest in ocean voyaging and navigation in Hawaii.  He inspired the renaissance in the art now thriving once again in Hawaii and many Polynesian Islands.

Master Navigator Piailug also contributed to the work of the Joint Committee on Compact Negotiation (JCN).  When the Compact Agreement was being renegotiated between the FSM and the U.S. Governments, Piailug appeared in Washington, D.C., with the JCN team to tell of FSM’s success stories, among them his own in reaching out to help the Hawaiian people.

For his outstanding achievements and contributions, Master Navigator Piailug was recognized by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., as a seasoned seafarer and one of the last surviving master navigators.  The University of Hawaii also recognized him for his achievements and contributions to the Hawaiians, by bestowing upon him an honorary doctorate degree.

“Master Navigator Piailug will be missed by all of us in the FSM and the Pacific region,” said President Mori, “but his legacy will live on and continue to inspire.” 

For more information, please contact the FSM Public Information Office by e-mail at or at 320-2548.