The Cape Navigator

Seaside Community Newspaper


NSRI Durban Successfully Escorts Dismasted Solo Sailor to Safety in the Port of Durban

Michael Hawthorne

DURBAN – In a dramatic and challenging operation, the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) Durban duty crew launched the NSRI Durban rescue craft, Spirit of Surfski 6, to aid a dismasted sailing yacht, Fuji, and its solo sailor, Ari Känsäkoski, into the Port of Durban. The vessel, participating in the Global Solo Challenge, had reported distress in the deep waters of the Indian Ocean 25 days prior.

The NSRI Durban had been on alert for the past two weeks, following information from the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) about the struggling sailing yacht. The MRCC had informed NSRI that Fuji was en route to the Port of Durban, prompting a vigilant watch on her progress.

The call for action came in the early hours of Monday morning, as NSRI Durban was requested to launch a rescue craft to rendezvous with the yacht. Originally tasked with escorting the sailing yacht into port, NSRI Durban faced a twist in the plan when, at around 06h00, it was reported that the vessel had suffered motor mechanical failure. The NSRI team quickly adapted to the situation, now required to tow the yacht into port.

Collaborating seamlessly with MRCC, NSRI Durban duty controllers, NSRI Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), Telkom Maritime Radio Services, Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) Durban Port Control, Police Sea Borderline Control, and Global Solo Challenge coordinators, the team coordinated a meticulous operation.

The rendezvous occurred 10 nautical miles offshore of Durban, where a towline was successfully rigged. In favorable sea conditions, the NSRI Durban team skillfully towed Fuji into the Port of Durban. Overcoming challenges posed by the mast lying across the foredeck, the operation concluded without incident once the yacht was safely moored at the International Moorings.

A statement released by the Global Solo Challenge on their website commended Ari Känsäkoski for his “patience, seamanship, and determination” during the arduous journey. The statement also acknowledged the selfless assistance provided by those who contributed crucial help throughout the challenging time.

NSRI Durban, along with all parties involved, commend Ari Känsäkoski and express gratitude to everyone who played a role in ensuring the safe return of the dismasted sailing yacht Fuji and its resilient solo sailor. The full statement from the Global Solo Challenge can be found on the Global Solo Challenge Website.

NSRI Durban


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