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Quiet beaches did not mean smooth sailing for NSRI

Quiet beaches and no swimmers did not mean smooth sailing for the NSRI as the new year was ushered in.
Quiet beaches and no swimmers did not mean smooth sailing for the NSRI as the new year was ushered in.
Image: Supplied

Near-empty beaches and no swimmers in the days ushering in the new year did not mean the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) sat idle.

NSRI Mossel Bay station commander Andre Fraser, said his duty crew were placed on alert at 9.29pm on New Year's Eve to prepare to evacuate a 45-year-old Angolan fisherman who fell ill on a local fishing vessel that was expected to arrive offshore of Mossel Bay in the early hours of Friday morning.

It took the efforts of the Telkom Maritime Radio Services, a medical doctor from the Western Cape health emergency services, the Transnet Port Health Authority, By Grace ambulance services, the ship's agent, NSRI and Transnet National Ports Authority to assist the Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre to pull off the evacuation.

“At 4.35am on January 1, the sea rescue craft St Blaize Rescuer was launched and we rendezvoused with the fishing vessel just offshore of Mossel Bay harbour,” Fraser said.

“The patient was transferred onto our sea rescue craft and we brought him to our sea rescue base in the care of our NSRI medics and the patient was transported to hospital by a By Grace ambulance in a stable condition.”

Further along the coast in Port Elizabeth, NSRI station commander, Jonathan Tufts and his crew had to launch their sea rescue craft Spirit of Toft, around noon to assist an Eastern Cape health emergency services paramedic to evacuate a Russian fisherman injured from a fall from a fishing trawler.

They met up with the trawler in Algoa Bay and the patient was transferred to hospital in a stable condition.

New Year's Eve also saw the crew of Port Edward on KwaZulu-Natal's south coast having to assist a local charter boat suffering failure of one of her motors at 3.51am.

Station commander Gert du Plessis said the skipper requested assistance to get six passengers — a female and five males — off the 21-foot boat before attempting to get the boat to shore on the one remaining motor.

NSRI Shelly Beach dispatched a crew to assist the NSRI Port Edward crew.

“The sea rescue craft jet-rib Rescue 32 Alpha was launched and in three relays of two at a time, the six passengers were brought safely to shore without incident from just over a nautical mile offshore of the Wild Coast Sun,” the NSRI said in a statement.

“During the passenger transfer operation the second motor of the casualty boat failed and without engine power we dispatched our sea rescue craft Rescue 32 to the scene and on her arrival we took the casualty boat under tow and we towed her to shore without incident. Once the casualty boat was safely ashore and recovered no further assistance was required.”



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