The crew on board Freesia, a fishing trawler, rescued 14 fishermen on a life raft off Cape Point early this morning, 19 January.
The uninjured fishermen were the casualty crew of the Viking Fishing Company trawler Lezandi that took on water in dense fog and started sinking about 10 nautical South West of Cape Point this morning. All 14 crew members abandoned the trawler and were on the life raft.
It appeared the Lezandi may have collided with the bulk carrier Sunrise Jade in dense fog, a 2.5 meter sea swell and a 26 knot South Westerly wind.
At 1.33 am this morning, NSRI Simonstown, NSRI Kommetjie and NSRI Hout Bay volunteer duty crew were activated by the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) following a Mayday distress call from the Lezandi. A red distress flare was also reportedly sighted in the vicinity.
The NSRI volunteer duty crew from the NSRI stations of Simonstown, Kommetjie and Hout Bay responded with their sea rescue boats to the last known position reported by the casualty fishing trawler. MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre) placed NSRI’s ASR (Air Sea Rescue) on alert and assisted by Telkom Maritime Radio Services a full scale search and rescue operation commenced. WC Government Health EMS were alerted as were the Viking Fishing Company management.
Boats in the area at the time, the fishing trawlers Freesia, Armano, Cape Frio, Flame Thorn,Dan Tago and the bulk carrier Portos, responded to the the emergency.
Prior to NSRI sea rescue craft arriving at the scene at about 2.35 am, the crew on the fishing trawler Freesia reported locating a life raft and reported to the rescue authorities that all crew had been accounted for and were safe on board the Freesia.
The fishing vessel Lezandi is currently believed to be drifting semi submerged and Telkom Maritime Radio Services are broadcasting a maritime navigational warning to warn vessels in the area of the maritime navigational hazard.
Both life rafts were recovered and MRCC thanked all vessels that assisted.
The bulk carrier Sunrise Jade was allowed to continue to the Port of Saldanha Bay and it appears she was not damaged by a suspected collision between herself and the fishing trawler Lezandi. SAMSA (South African Maritime Safety Authority) will investigate the incident and it appears that a collision between the two vessels at sea in a dense fog had occurred.
Freesia will bring the 14 rescued crew members to the Port Table Bay where they will be met by WC Government Health EMS and ER24 ambulance services and by SAMSA officials, The rescued fishermen will be medically assessed as a precautionary measure.
The crew aboard Freesia are commended for their role in the rescue operation.
Edited by St Francis Chronicle