Oct 072010

An Aussie Esky, courtesy of America's Coleman

If it isn’t EUNAVFOR interdicting pirates it’s whales and Eskys becoming fishermens’ PFD.

With no further comment, here’s a story from AMSA –

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC) Australia coordinated the rescue of three people from the water at approximately 11.15 pm (WST) on Tuesday 5th October when a fishing vessel sank off North West Cape, Western Australia.

The 12.1 metre ex-fishing trawler Shiralee with three people on board made a Mayday call when she started to quickly sink after striking a whale approximately five nautical miles off Ningaloo Reef. A VHF radio call was relayed to the RCC Australia by the mobile offshore drilling unit, Ocean America, and was overheard by the tanker Eagle Corona which diverted to the scene. Shortly afterwards, a 406 megahertz distress beacon was detected at the location and a red flare was sighted by Eagle Corona. Weather conditions at the time of the incident were severe with 18-23 knot winds, two-metre sea levels and a three-metre swell.

RCC Australia tasked a local aviation asset, Bristows Super Puma helicopter from Exmouth, and AMSA’s Perth based dedicated search and rescue Dornier aircraft to attend the scene. Additionally, Fremantle Water Police activated the Volunteer Marine Rescue unit at Exmouth who were unable to respond due to the adverse weather conditions.

When the Eagle Corona arrived on scene, it was unable to launch a rescue boat due to the weather but reported sighting a large esky with two people clinging to it. Both Eagle Corona and the Bristows helicopter kept track of the esky until another vessel, the rig tender Pacific Wrangler, arrived on scene and launched her fast rescue craft. All three survivors were recovered at 2.57 am (WST) Wednesday 6th October.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority would like to thank everyone involved in this successful rescue.

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