All 16 crew of a Taiwanese fishing vessel that sank in the Indian Ocean on Tuesday were successfully rescued overnight (South African time), with none reported to have suffered an injury, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) reported on Wednesday.
According to the SAMSA Centre for Sea Watch and Response based Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) in Cape Town, the successful rescue of the crew occured at approximately 02h30 on Wednesday, with assistance of several vessels that responded to distress and assistance request calls broadcast on Tuesday.
The rescue mission got underway on Tuesday after the Taiwanese fishing vessel DER HAE NO 66 crew sent out a MAYDAY call reporting that the vessel was taking in water to a point that it had to abandon it, in an area at sea some 598 kilometers off the coast of Durban in the Indian Ocean.
According to the MRCC, several ships in the vicinity were immediately called upon to render assistance, and they did so successfully.
The Centre for Sea Watch & Response reported on Wednesday morning: “MRCC Cape Town is glad to report that all of the 16 crew from the fishing vessel (FV) DER HAE NO 66 were rescued.
“The bulk carrier GOLDEN EARL arrived at the scene where the DER HAE NO 66 sank after being abandoned by the Taiwanese and Filipino crew. Unfortunately, the GOLDEN EARL could not recover the survivors from the life raft due to the prevailing swell of 4.0 meters.
“MRCC Cape Town then requested the GOLDEN EARL to remain on-scene, and with the drifting life raft until the fishing vessels JAIN LIH NO 212 and DER HAE NO 6 arrives.
“MRCC released the other vessels, liquid natural gass carrier LOBITA and crude oil tanker RED NOVA EARL to continue with normal voyage.
“The on-scene coordinator, GOLEN EARL reported by 2am on 13 September 2023 that the two Taiwanese fishing vessels had arrived by, and the JAIN LIH NO 212 recovered the 16 crew. No injuries were reported to MRCC Cape Town. The GOLDEN EARL was also released to continue with normal voyage. The on-scene coordinator reported that both fishing vessels shall continue with fishing operations.
“MRCC Cape Town appreciates the efforts of all vessels involved, and the assistance provided by RCC Taipei and Telkom Maritime Radio.”
A rescue operation for fishermen onboard a Taiwanese vessel reportedly sinking is currently underway some 598 kilometers off the coast of Durban in the Indian Ocean, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) reports.
The number of fishermen involved is not yet known, save for a MayDay call recorded from the sinking vessel at about 03.18pm (South African time), said the SAMSA Centre for Sea Watch & Response based Maritime Rescue Coordinating Centre (MRCC) in Cape Town. A number of vessels in proximity of the reportedly sinking fishing vessel had since been mobilised to offer assistance, said the MRCC.
According to the MRCC: “MRCC Cape Town was notified at 15:18 today (12 September 2023) by RCC Taipei that the Taiwanese fishing vessel (FV) DER HAE NO 66 was sinking due to flooding in a position approximately 323NM (598km) East-south-east from Durban, and that the Taiwanese fishing vessels DER HAE NO 6 and ZAN LI NO 212 were diverting to assist.
“The weather forecast for the incident position is winds South-east up to 25 knots (approximately 48km/h) and the Sea State being swell of up to 4m mainly south westerly, as per South African Weather Services (SAWS).
“A MAYDAY relay was issued by Telkom Maritime Radio at the request of MRCC Cape Town and the Liqued Natural Gass Carrier, LOBITA was requested to divert and assist after responding.
“The LOBITA was approximately 155NM (287km) west from the incident position. The vessels bulk carrier, GOLDEN EARL, at approximately 35NM (65km) and the crude oil tanker, RED NOVA EARL, at approximately 60NM (111km), were identified on AIS and requested to divert to the incident position for assistance to be rendered.
“This is a developing and dynamic incident with the SAR response being conducted as aligned with the SASAR Act and Policy.”
This blog will update the story as and when new information is shared.
A salvage operation at sea south of Cape Town has begun on Friday to recover a stricken fishing vessel that caught on fire, leading to its crew of 26 fishermen abandoning it in the early hours of the day, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) reported.
SAMSA said the 26 crewmen were safely brought onto dryland early on Friday following a frantic effort involving no less than three ships which had responded to a mayday call by the Maritime Rescue Coordinating Centre based in Cape Town.
According to the SAMSA Centre for Sea Watch & Response based MRCC; “MRCC Cape Town was informed by Telkom Maritime Radio at 01:00 of the FV requiring immediate assistance due to fire in the engine room. The 26 crew then abandoned ship to life raft sighting the whole fishing vessel to be ablaze,” said the MRCC.
It added that: “A MAYDAY Relay was issued through Telkom Maritime Radio wherein vessels were requested to render immediate assistance. NSRI Stations Hout Bay and Simon’s Town were activated. The MV AQUA EXPLORE, a Bulk Carrier, and FV UMFONDINI diverted to assist. The AQUA EXPLORE, not being able to recover the survivors from the life raft, remained on-scene until the UMFONDINI arrived.
“All crew were safety transferred to the UMFONDINI with the prevailing winds reported to be South-westerly at 15 knots and a water swell of up to 2.6 metres. The AQUA EXPLORE proceeded with normal voyage.
“FV UMFONDINI was intercepted by NSRI Stations Hout Bay and Simon’s Town after which the OLIVIA MARIE crew were transferred to the NSRI Simon’s Town craft. The survivors were safely delivered to Simon’s Town and transported back to their home base at Hout Bay.
“Efforts from MV AQUA EXPLORE, FV UMFONDINI, NSRI, and Telkom Maritime Radio supported MRCC Cape Town in the successful outcome of this maritime SAR incident.
“A Navigation Warning was issued, requesting vessels to report sightings of the OLIVIA MARIE and the life raft, this being in an effort not only to warn of the possible navigation hazards, but also to assist in the recovery of these craft,” said the MRCC.
Late on Friday, SAMSA said the vessel had since been sighted by another ship, the F/V Langenberg at a point where it was some 3.5 nautical miles from the abandoned fishing vessel, in an approximate position 34 11.8 S018 19.8 E from the Coast South of Scarborough.
“The F/V Langenberg is about 3.5 nautical miles from the abandoned vessel and spotted some debris but not a lot, no smoke on the vessel. Visibility is clear. SW wind force 5 of the current Is pushing Olivia Marie to the shallow waters.”
Efforts will continue to recover the abandoned vessel.
South Africa’s Maritime Rescue Coordinating Centre (MRCC) is among recipients of this year’s Seamanship award by London based Ocean Cruising Club (OCC), in recognition of their role in the rescue of a Finnish solo sailor after he abandoned his sailing boat that sank about 500 miles south of the South African coast four months ago.
According to the OCC in an announcement, the Cape Town based MRCC, managed under the Centre for Sea Watch & Response of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), will receive the award jointly with Capt. Naveen Kumar Mehrotra and the crew of the DARYA GAYATRI, and Kirsten Neuschäfer who at the time was a competitor in the 2022 Golden Globe Race.
The OCC said the recipients for this year’s Seamanship Award were nominated for “the exemplary coordination of the rescue in the Southern Ocean some 500 miles off the coast of South Africa.
The entire saga ensued on 18 November 2022 after, according to the OCC, Mr Lehtinen reported that his Gaia 36 ASTERIA flooded rapidly from the stern with water up to deck level and then sank.
“Tapio Lehtinen’s boat took on water at the stern and sank within five (5) minutes. Tapio set off his EPIRB, donned his survival suit, grabbed his ditch bag, and deployed his liferaft just before his Gaia 36 ASTERIA sank.
“He was rescued from the liferaft by Kirsten Neuschäfer (who was about 100 miles away at the time of the sinking) and was transferred to a bulk carrier in 3m seas and 25kn winds,” said OCC Commodore, Simon Currin
At the time, the OCC noted that MRCC Cape Town confirmed communication with Captain Naveen Kumar Mehrotra onboard the bulk carrier M.V. Darya Gayatri, approximately 50 nm NW of Tapio’s position, diverting course at 12,5 knots and rendering assistance with an ETA (estimated time of arrival) between 0830 and 1000 UTC on November 19.
“Kirsten called the race coordinators and confirmed she picked up Tapio from the lifer aft and proceeded to transfer him to the bulk carrier. Tapio was in good health and on board the carrier M/V Darya Gayatri en route to China. Kristen resumed racing. It was a textbook rescue that resulted in swift resolution in the Southern Ocean,” said Commodore Currin
According to the OCC, the awards recipients will be presented with the honours at this year’s OCC annual dinner scheduled for Poole in the United Kingdom on 15 April 2023. For the MRCC however, the award will be presented to the team at an occasion in Cape Town later in the year.
Reacting to news of the award, SAMSA’s Centre for Sea Watch & Responde head, Capt. Pretty Molefe described the announcement of the conferment as both an honour and importantly; a crucial fitting indicator of the critical role that the sea watch and response centre and the MRCC independently play in the field of ensuring the safety of life and property at sea – effectively SAMSA’s legislated mandate.
She said: “South Africa, being signatory to the International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue adopted by the International Maritime Organization, has an obligation to respond to distress calls within its designated Search and Rescue Region (SRR). This piece of legislation is domesticated by the SASAR Act 44 of 2002, within which falls the South African Search and Rescue Organization.
“MRCC Cape Town forms a crucial part of the South African Search and Rescue (SASAR) Organization, in that, it is tasked with coordinating all maritime SAR operations within our SAR region. A sizeable +/-27.7 million square km’s of it! At the centre for Sea Watch and Response, maintaining maritime domain awareness is of extreme importance for purposes of ensuring a timely response to incidents developing at sea, including Search and Rescue.
“Joining hands so others may live…” The successful execution of this rescue perfectly epitomizes this SASAR motto. Considering the very treacherous nature of the maritime environment, one would appreciate the fact that it takes teamwork and cooperation to execute and conclude a successful rescue operation, especially upon high seas. Not forgetting seamanship, as demonstrated by skilful sailors such as Ms Kristen Neuschäfer and the crew of the DARYA.
“The MRCC is manned by a team of men and women who are not only qualified but are equally as dedicated and attentive to each call that is received, whilst maintaining the highest level of professionalism, often under stressful conditions. I commend the MRCC team for their meticulous coordination of this rescue, in cooperation with the Master of the M.V. DARYA and Ms Neuschafer, which resulted in saving a life.
“We are extremely honoured to receive this recognition and such an important award, Seamanship Award 2022, issued by the Ocean Cruising Club. This industry is not one that is short of challenges but each one strengthens us and makes us better. Ensuring safety of life and property at sea remains imperative for us at the South African Maritime Safety Authority.
The view was also shared by MRCC chief, Mr Jared Blows; whose unit operates 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year, constantly keeping a watchful eye and in constant contact, when needed, with the thousands of vessels, big and small; traversing the three oceans region surrounding South Africa.
Mr Blows further expressed his thanks and congratulations to his team at MRCC for yet another successful rescue. He went on to congratulate the other award recipients without whom this would not have been possible.
“The team at MRCC display professionalism and strive to maintain world class standards even under very challenging times.
“Over its almost 20 years being hosted by SAMSA, the MRCC has been involved in numerous incident with some notable being the 2011 rescue of 33 Taiwanese sailors about 2000nm west of Cape Town following their vessel having had an onboard explosion and fire resulting in them needing to abandon the vessel , the Cape to Rio (2014) yacht race rescue incident hours after the race started in very treacherous conditions and more recently the rescue of 62 sailors after their vessel, GEOSEARCHER (2020), sank off Gough Island,” remarked Mr Blows.
South Africa and its member group of countries in the COSPAS SARSAT Programme, among them Australia; will have their gaze up in the skies above Africa for three full days this week, beginning on Tuesday, focussed on latest developments in satellite technology for the enhancement of maritime safety globally and in the southern hemisphere.
The virtual meeting of the South West Pacific Data Distribution Region (SWPDDR) through which the group of countries subscribe to the COSPAS SARSAT Programme, is being hosted by South Africa through the Department of Transport (DoT), ably assisted by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA)
The international COSPAS-SARSAT Programme is a satellite-based search and rescue (SAR) distress-alert detection system made up of satellites in space and infrastructure to receive signals on the ground. Its main function is to facilitate distress transmissions from vessels, aircraft and persons via satellites to activate life-saving emergency support from government authorities.
Since its launch in the early 80s, the system described as providing “accurate, timely and reliable alert and location data to search and rescue authorities who assist persons in distress, even in the world’s most remote areas….” has been credited with saving the lives of tens of thousands of people particularly at seas worldwide.
Speaking ahead of the start of the meeting in Pretoria on Tuesday, Mr Jared Blows, Chief of SAMSA Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) located at the Centre for Sea Watch and Response in Cape Town, described the gathering in Hillcrest this week as a highly significant event for South Africa both as host country as well as for critical role players in oceans and air safety in the southern tip of the African continent.
According to Mr Blows, the SWPDDR meeting in South Africa is only taking place in Pretoria this year after it was postponed for over two years due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic worldwide during latter half of 2019.
He said: “South Africa via the SASAR Organisation of the Department of Transport is a member of the COSPAS SARSAT Programme. The programme assists world search and rescue organisations by supplying both space and ground segment satellite systems for the detection of emergency location beacons used in the maritime and aeronautical domain along with beacons used by persons on land who find themselves in need of the services of a search and rescue organisation.
“The system detects beacons approved for use and operating on the 406Mhz frequency band. The world is divided into various data distribution regions and South Africa falls within the SWPDDR. The DDR is a sub section of the larger COSPAS SARSAT Joint Committee and the COSPAS SARSAT Council.
“The various DDRs meet regularly to discuss matters specifically associated with their regions and to look at improving the system. These proposals and recommendations are submitted to the Joint Committee for further deliberations and then to the Council should approvals be required.
“The SWPDDR has for many years held the meeting in the various members Countries. South Africa was to host the meeting in 2020. However, with COVID creating havoc worldwide the meeting was postponed to April 12th to 14th 2022. South Africa, specifically the Department of Transport, is the host for the meeting this year.
“A working group set up from within the SASAR Executive was tasked to arrange such meeting. With travel restrictions and COVID related matters still a challenge the decision was taken not to postpone any longer but to host the meeting virtually,” said Mr Blows
For his full remarks on these and related matters, click on the video clip below. (+-5 minutes).
The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has said it noted with appreciation the successful retrieval of a sailor whose yacht experienced problems and eventually sank while participating in the Vendeé Globe Yacht Race some 1083km south of Cape Town on Tuesday morning (01 December 2020)
In a statement in Pretoria on Wednesday, SAMSA said the successful retrieval of the skipper of the Yacht “PRB” at about 3am on Tuesday morning was a direct result of collaboration between SAMSA’s Maritime Rescue Coordinating Centre (MRCC), its French counterpart, Griz Nes, and the Vendeé Globe Yacht Race authorities and race participants.
SAMSA said the skipper of the Yacht PRB was scheduled to disembark at the Kerguelen Islands.
According to SAMSA: “The emergency rescue of the skipper ensued shortly after MRCC based in Cape Town was notified by MRCC Griz Nes (France) of an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) activation from the Yacht PRB. The notification was received shortly after 16:00 on Monday afternoon (30/11/2020) and MRCC Cape Town assumed Search and Rescue (SAR) Coordination of this incident.
“The EPIRB position was located approximately 1083km South West from Cape Town. Supplementary information provided with the EPIRB detection allowed MRCC Cape Town to confirm that the Yacht was part of the Vendeé Globe Yacht Race.
“With that confirmation the Vendeé Globe Yacht Race Organisers were contacted, and they confirmed to be aware of the EPIRB detection and were not able to make contact with the Skipper. They had alerted another competitor, Yacht “Yes we Cam!” to head towards the distress location for assistance.
“MRCC Cape Town continued to provide EPIRB position updates and alerted the Race Organisers to the activation of the Skipper’s Man Overboard Device (MOB). The MOB device coordinates were then used to direct the Yacht “Yes we Cam!” to the Skipper where he found to have been in a Life Raft after abandoning the Yacht PRB.
“Initial efforts of the Yacht “Yes we Cam!” to recover the Skipper in Distress were unsuccessful due to Winds of up to 50 km/h and Sea Swell of up to 5 metres. By 03:00 the morning of 01 December 2020 the surviving Skipper was recovered to the Yacht “Yes we Cam!” and it was confirmed that Yacht PRB had broken apart before sinking.
SAMA attributed the success of the rescue to close collaboration as a crucial aspect to effective monitoring and safety of sailors globally, and that it “won the day once more during this incident.”
There were sighs and clear signs of relief on the faces of both a group of seafarers as well as the handful of family members as the SA Agulhas II – the country’s most advanced polar research vessel – berthed at Eastern Mole 1 at the port of Cape Town on Monday evening with the seafarers safely onboard.
It was the end of a +5 000 kilometer journey for the 60 seafarers on board – 47 of them South African – who narrowly escape injury two weeks ago some 2600 kilometers deep in the Atlantic Ocean, after their Balize-flagged fishing research vessel, the Geo Searcher, sank within a mile off the Gough Island after it reportedly struck underwater rocks, quickly took water and sank.
The hair raising incident, and during which two of the 62 sailors suffered minor injuries had, according to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), occured in the late afternoon of Thursday, 15 October 2020, while the group of seafarers was sailing in the vicinity of Gough Island.
When the vessel reportedly struck the underwater rocks and rapidly took water, the seafarers scrambled onto safety boats that helped them reach dry land.
SAMSA through its Sea Watch and Rescue linked Maritime Rescue Coordinating Centre (MRCC) based in Cape Town not only first picked up the frantic calls for help from the vessel’s crew after it got into difficulty that Thursday afternoon, but also co-ordinated the entire rescue mission – working hand in glove with various institutions and State departments including the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF), owners of the SA Agulhas II.
With Captain Knowledge Mdlase as Master of the SA Agulhas II, a week ago the vessel was dispatched to the Gough Island to fetch the stranded seamen and after initially battling with choppy ocean winds, it succefully reached and fetched all the seafarers for on boarding onto the SA Agulhas II for the 2500 kilometer trip to Cape Town, which ended on Monday evening.
From a SAMSA perspective, the safe rescue and return of the 60 seafarers (two more others were dropped of at Tristan da Cuhna) marked the successful completion of South Africa’s most biggest sea rescue mission in over a decade.
This is according to the head of SAMSA’s MRCC in Cape Town, Mr Jared Blows. In a brief chat on Tuesday, the morning after the return of the SA Agulhas II from Gough Island, Mr Blows said constant alertness and closer cooperation with various others institutions was key to the success of the mission.
For his views (+3 minutes) click on the video below.
Meanwhile, Captain Bengu described the rescue mission as having been relatively smooth, this despite challenging weather conditions initially on their arrival near the Gough Island last week. It took the vessel the entire four days to get there.
According to Captain Bengu, the rescue mission started hurriedly during the evening of Thursday, 15 October when he and his SA Agulhas II crew had to drop off in Cape Town a group of passengers that were onboard returning from a research mission, and had to rush back towards Gough Island.
“The vessel departed at about 11pm on Thursday and sailed full speed – at about 16 knots per hour – towards Gough Island, which took us about four days.
“Unfortunately when we got to the island on 20 October, the weather was unfavourable to conduct any flight operations especially with regards flying seafarers onboard. We had to wait it throughout the evening until we decided to call off the operation for the day. The following day, as soon as there was a weather opening – a two hour gap in the weather – a very brave helicopter crew took a decision to fly even as the conditions were not so good. They managed to bring on board all 62 seafarers safely and unharmed,” said Captain Bengu.
He said in addition to rescuing the stranded seafarers, the SA Agulhas II crew also conducted an environmental inspection for oil spillage around the wreck of the sunken vessel, the Geo Searcher.
Later upon departure from the island, the SA Agulhas first headed for Tristan da Cunha where it dropped two of the 62 seafarers after which it headed for South Africa.
“On our arrival at Tristan da Cunha, the Tristanians were very generous and donated clothing and food for the rest of the survivors,’ he said.
For Captain Bengu’s full remarks, click on the video below (+-4minutes)
He also described the 62 rescued seafarers as “most grateful and with full appreciation of the hospitality they received.”
Regrettably, this blog could not convince any of the rescued seafarers on Monday evening to speak on record about their ordeal this past week. This notwithstanding, several seemed happy to have made it back home in good health and were full of praise for the SA Agulhas II crew.
A three day search for a group of fishermen at sea off the coast of Cape Town ended happily on Wednesday after they were all found along with their boat in the earlier hours of the day.
The group, according to the South African Maritime Safety Authority’s (SAMSA) Maritime Rescue Coordinating Centre (MRCC)reportedly got into trouble at sea on Sunday and after an initially fruitless search fouled by poor weather conditions, they were found by another fishing vessel that took them to Cape Town for medical attention.
The MRCC in a report said the rescue of the five (5) fishermen at about 3.45am on Wednesday eventually ended happily three hours later when the men were dropped off the port of Cape Town by the the crew of the Silver Dolphin.
This was exactly three days after the fishermen were believed missing after a National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) report of a fishing boat thought to have been in distress following its firing of flares off the sea near Noordhoek Beach.
“MRCC received information on Sunday night, 02 February 2020 from the National Sea Rescue Institute Emergency Operations Centre of a red flare sighted by a member of the public at Noordhoek Beach. NSRI Stations at Houtbay and Kommetjie were launched to investigate.
“The initial report was relayed as the vessel had run out of fuel and had fired off flares to attract attention to its plight. It was stated that there may be 6 (six) persons onboard the vessel at the time. Additional rescue stations were tasked and set to sea to try and locate the vessel,” reported the MRCC
It added: “Search efforts continued into the night and the surface search accompanied by an aerial search using the SANDF Air Force Oryx helicopter took place Monday 03 February.
“All the while the weather in the form of heavy fog persisted and made search efforts very difficult and very low levels of visibility was very challenging. Efforts were suspended late on the evening and a reassessment was done.
“Five NSRI boats conducted a search again late Monday night well into Tuesday morning but as the weather again got worse efforts needed to be suspended. MRCC Cape Town made provision for another SANDF helicopter and a helicopter from EMS Western Cape but with the heavy fog persisting flying was not possible. Surface craft were alerted of the situation with a continuous MAY DAY Relay being broadcast.
“Assets from the TNPA were also placed on alert but with the visibility challenges no search efforts could be undertaken,” said the MRCC.
According to MRCC, the drama ended in the early hours of Wednesday morning after the crew of another fishing vessel, the Silver Dolphin, reported to have found the missing fishermen, together with their boat.
The MRCC report on Wednesday stated further: “At around 03.45 this morning, MRCC Cape Town was contacted by the Silver Dolphin reporting they had located the missing boat and crew. The fishing vessel was bound for St Helena Bay but was requested to change course and head towards Cape Town and to rendezvous with the NSRI Table Bay Station 3 vessel, with a medical team, which was activated by MRCC to render assistance and bring the crew back to Cape Town.
“The families have been notified along with the Maritime Authorities, who have sent a representative down to the port. The stricken vessel and crew arrived at the NSRI base just after 0630am and are being evaluated by the Western Cape Metro medical personnel.
“The efforts and commitment by all involved actively and those who stood by to deploy while the weather created challenges are highly commended and the MRCC wishes to express its sincere gratitude and appreciation during the operation.”
Methanol poisoning is believed to be the cause of the death of one crew member and hospitalization of five others in Durban, South Africa, from a Netherlands ship that was sailing past the country early this week.
According to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), the Maritime Rescue Coordinating Centre (MRCC) activated a rescue mission at about 7.51am on Tuesday after receiving a call for assistance from the Captain of the BOKA VANGUARD to help evacuate and seek urgent medical attention for five crew Brazilian crew members who had apparently fallen sick on board. An additional crewman had already died before MRCC was notified.
This occurred while the vessel – described as a heavy lift ship – was sailing on the Indian Ocean, approximately 276 kilometres East from the port city of Durban on its way from Qindao in China to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.
On receiving the urgent call for assistance, MRCC said medical and evacuation support was activated involving the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), the Western Cape Metro Emergency Medical Services, the South African Air Force as well as the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) in Durban.
At the time of rescue and evacuation of the vessel’s sick crew, all five were in a critical condition with the potential risk of death, said the MRCC. It was reported by the Captain that the methanol poisoning happened during the evening but he only got to know about it that morning.
Both the TNPA and SAAF readied aircraft for use in the evacuation. The Air Force’s resources were utilised as it could carry all five casualties at once, while the NSRI also launched a boat from Durban as an additional safety measure. The MRCC described the sea and weather conditions during the operation as calm with the wind at 13 km/h and with a swell at 1.7 metres
At the time of writing, it could not be established what condition the sick crew were in since hospitalization on Tuesday.
MRCC Cape Town expressed its appreciation for the support provided by the SASAR Signatory Agencies and the contribution to the successful medical evacuation.
Quick action and a well coordinated response by the South African Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) saw about 16 crewmen of a Taiwanese vessel rescued successfully from the stricken vessel off the Indian Ocean on Tuesday morning.
The MRCC also confirmed that the vessel that first experienced difficulties sailing had soon caught fire and was slowly sinking, some 1100 nautical miles south east of Durban.
The dramatic rescue of sailors off the vessel, the Teng Ming Yang#268, according to the MRCC, ensued from about 6.45am (South African Time) after the centre picked up a distress signal from the vessel indicating a need for assistance.
“At 06h45 local time MRCC Cape Town was alerted via the COSPAS SARSAT system (EPIRB detection) of the Taiwanese fishing vessel Teng Ming Yang #268 possibly needing assistance.
“The distress position as per the detection placed the vessel more than 1100 kilometres South East of Durban within the South African Search and Rescue region. MRCC Cape Town Duty Team immediately contacted the Taipei Rescue Coordination Centre to obtain additional details. The satellite AIS system was used to identify any vessels near the casualty position that may be called upon to assist.
“Taipei RCC stated that the vessel had reported a fire onboard and the 16 crew were going to abandon the vessel to life rafts. A MAYDAY relay broadcast was issued by Telkom Maritime Radio for vessels in the area to assist.
“The vessel Mearsk Lanco (approximately 500 kilometres away) immediately responded to the MAYDAY broadcast but was thanked for the response and stood down by the MRCC as a sister vessel to the Teng Ming Yang #268 was already diverting and a second vessel was also on route.
“Constant monitoring of the AIS system indicated that the sister vessel arrived in the area just after 0900 local time. This was confirmed by Taipei RCC minutes later when they reported that Teng Ming Yang #888 reported that it had rescued the 16 crew from the life raft. The vessel was reportedly still burning and sinking slowly. A Navigational warning has been issued.
“SAR systems and RCC cooperation has yet again proven its value,” said the centre in a statement.