Coast KZN

12 Jul 2017

Fishing trawler crew rescued after abandoning fire-stricken vessel

Erin Hanekom (Southland Sun) Picture: (Photo Credit: NSRI)


After a fishing vessel caught fire off the coast of Durban on Sunday, 9 July, two men had to be airlifted to hospital.

The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) responded to a call yesterday from Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC), 11 July, at about 10am about a man with burn injuries aboard a container vessel offshore.

The man had suffered burns during a fire aboard the fishing boat. He and the other survivors of the blaze were aboard two container vessels, heading towards the port after they were forced to abandon ship.

“It appears that the Taiwanese fishing vessel Hsiang Fuh No. 6 was ablaze on Sunday, 9 July, some 400 nautical miles off-shore east of the South African coastline and the 294-metre container ship Ever Diadem had reportedly witnessed the burning vessel and diverted to assist while raising the alarm.

Other vessels in the area at the time responded to a mayday call and diverted to assist and the bulk carriers Hampton Bay and SBI Antares joined Ever Diadem in a rescue operation at sea,” said NSRI Durban deputy station commander, Andre Fletcher.

“Thirty survivors, believed to be all of the crew of the fishing vessel Hsiang Fuh No. 6, had abandoned ship onto two lifeboats and 14 of the survivors were taken on board the SBI Antares and 16 of the survivors were taken on board the Ever Diadem and they were being brought to the Port of Durban aboard the two ships.”

Reports were received yesterday morning that a 29-year-old Filipino man was in a serious condition. NSRI Durban sea rescue craft Eikos Rescuer II, along with a Netcare 911 advanced life support paramedic, reached the Ever Diadem about six nautical miles from the harbour.

“NSRI medics and the Netcare 911 paramedic were transferred onto the ship and the injured sailor was treated for severe burns, suffering about 40% second and third degree burns, and he was stabilised. A second patient, a 63-year-old Chinese survivor, was treated for soft tissue injuries to his right knee.”

SA Air Force’s 15 Squadron Oryx helicopter arrived with three Netcare 911 rescue paramedics.

“Two rescue paramedics were hoisted onto the ship and assisted with stabilising the two patients. Both patients were hoisted into the helicopter in two relays, in a helicopter rescue basket.”

The two men were airlifted to hospital with the Filipino man in a stable but serious condition and the Chinese man in a stable condition.

“Both ships, with all remaining 28 survivors of the Taiwanese trawler, who are not injured, remain at anchorage off-shore of the Port of Durban and the two ships are waiting for permission from the Transnet National Ports Authority to enter port where, once safely berthed, the survivors will disembark into the care of authorities. Telkom Maritime Radio Services are broadcasting an all ships alert to warn ships at sea of the abandoned fishing vessel that remains adrift.”

Photo Credit: NSRI