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Tanker Rescues Two Clinging to Boat Debris in Torres Strait

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

December 7, 2020

(Photo: AMSA)

(Photo: AMSA)

A Marshall Islands-flagged tanker helped rescue two people from the water after their boat sank in the Torres Strait.

At about 7:15 a.m. AEST on Thursday, a coastal pilot on board the tanker Godam contacted Townsville Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) to report a sighting of two people clinging to a timber plank in the water.

The location for the sighting was about 10 kilometers southeast of Sue Islet, Warraber Reef. Conditions were rough with two to three meter swells with around 30 knot winds.

Townsville VTS immediately contacted the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) who tasked its Challenger search and rescue jet from Cairns and a Queensland Government rescue helicopter to the area.

Both aircraft arrived on scene at about 9 a.m., at which point in time the tanker’s crew had managed to retrieve one person from the water successfully. The second person was rescued from the water by the rescue helicopter.

The tanker maintained visual contact with both people throughout the rescue operation despite the challenging conditions.

Both survivors were transferred by the rescue helicopter to medical facilities on Thursday Island.

The cause of the boat sinking is unclear at this early stage, AMSA said, adding it's believed the two people had been in the water since 4 p.m. Wednesday.

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