The Cape Navigator

Seaside Community Newspaper


Dramatic Rescue Operation by NSRI Gqeberha Safeguards Crew Amidst Sinking Vessel Crisis

Michael Hawthorne

GQEBERHA – In a harrowing maritime emergency, the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) Gqeberha sprang into action to rescue the crew of a sinking vessel off the Port Elizabeth coast. The daring operation unfolded following a Mayday distress call received by Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) Port Control and Telkom Maritime Radio Services.

The distressed vessel, a local supply motor vessel, with three local crew members onboard, was perilously taking on water approximately 8 nautical miles offshore of the Port of Port Elizabeth. Swift coordination between TNPA Port Control, Telkom Maritime Radio Services, and NSRI Gqeberha led to the activation of the duty crew.

Telkom Maritime Radio Services issued an emergency alert to all ships, triggering the launch of NSRI Gqeberha’s rescue craft, Rescue 6 Alpha. Simultaneously, the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC), Police Sea Borderline Control, NSRI Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), and EC Government Health EMS were notified to ensure a comprehensive response.

A sister supply vessel had already set sail to assist, and a foreign bulk carrier motor vessel, slated for resupply by the distressed vessel, altered its course to provide aid. As the crew of the sinking vessel reported abandoning the ship, the sister supply vessel successfully rescued two crew members from the water, while the bulk carrier utilized a rope line to save the third crewman.

NSRI Gqeberha’s rescue craft battled strong South Easterly winds as they reached the scene, discovering the casualty vessel semi-submerged, with only its bow protruding above the water. Seeking refuge against the gusty winds, the bulk carrier motor vessel provided a crucial lee for the NSRI rescue craft, facilitating the safe transfer of all three crew members.

Escorted to the NSRI Gqeberha station 6 rescue base, the rescued crew underwent medical assessments by EMS paramedics. Thankfully, all three men were found to be in satisfactory condition, with no injuries reported.

While the maritime authorities assess the environmental impact, the vessel owners and salvors are evaluating options for salvaging the casualty vessel. The efficient and courageous response by NSRI Gqeberha in rescuing the three men at sea has been commended, highlighting the importance of swift and coordinated action in maritime emergencies.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top