NSRI St Francis Bay sea rescue volunteer duty crew evacuated 11 crew men from a sinking boat after two boats collided offshore.
It appears that the boat Southern Star (+-40m collided into the side of the damaged boat, Altar (+-20 m),which suffered a hole mid ships on the Port side of the vessel and started to take on water. There appeared to be no damage to Southern Star.
Marc May, NSRI St Francis Bay station commander, said at 11.45 pm yesterday, 14 September 2014, the local volunteer sea rescue duty crew were activated following a request for assistance from the two chokka fishing boats reported to have collided at sea about 5 nautical miles off-shore.
The NSRI volunteers launched the sea rescue craft Spirit of St Francis II, accompanied by two shore crew of the chokka fishing company and with extra water extrication pumps on hand, met up with the boats 2 nautical miles off-shore.”
Southern Star had been rafted against Altar to prevent the latter from sinking and the crew were pumping water out of while motoring towards the Port of St Francis. NSRI and shore crew members used the extra pumps to assist in pumping out water.
“Our sea rescue craft took 11 crew members off Altar in relays and left them safely on shore,” May said.. “The skipper and the first mate remained onboard Altar.
“Pumping water out of Altar is continuing as the large hole in the side of Altar is below the water line. Until repairs can be made, Southern Star will have to remain rafted to the side of Altar to prevent it from sinking.
“Our sea rescue craft towed the two vessels to just off-shore of Port St Francis. They cannot come into Port rafted to each other so they remain a few hundred meters off-shore of Port St Francis. Salvage has arranged to patch the hole at sea today before bringing Altar into Port for repairs.”
No one was injured. NSRI returned to base at 3 am after it was confirmed the pumping of water was under control.
Transnet National Ports Authority are monitoring the progress and Telkom Maritime Radio Services assisted with communications throughout the operation.
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