BY BARNABAS MANEBONA
SIX locals who went missing at sea on December 17, 2017 during a trip from Pelau Island to Tasman Atoll have been rescued.
They were found by PNG’s Worthy Ocean Limited fishing vessel “ATUN PLANTI” on December 29 after being spotted.
From report, the survivors were transferred to another boat “FV Nupla Sowara” a few days ago who will be disembarked here at Honiara today 7am.
According to the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCCHON), “police stabi boat” will assist them to unload the survivors from the fishing boat at Pt Cruz Harbour.
“MRCC will take them to the MRCC SIMSA office for a brief interview if their condition is ok, if not they will be taken to the hospital for review in which their relatives can take them from there,” said the MRCCHON Team.
Captain Tim Harris for Solomon Islands Maritime Safety Administration (SIMSA) said the finding is a great outcome from a medium/long term incident
“This is a good start to 2018; let’s keep up the good work. Well done MRCC and all concerned,” said the Captain.
In the sea protest presented by “Worthy Ocean Limited”, the helicopter of “ATUN PLANTI” took off searching for fish at 04:57UTC.
The Pilot and spotter reported that they found one small boat with 6 people drifting on the ocean waving their hands for help. So the vessels Fishing Master ordered the spotter to report their position in which the distance between them and the OBM was 16 miles.
They rescued the 6 survivors at 7:40UTC at the position 04.41.769S 162.41.735E lifting their boat up as well.
Their health conditions were good despite not eating food for a long time in which they were given porridge and fresh water first until they felt better before providing food for them. They were also given new clothes and shoes to wear according to the sea protest.
MRCCHON, MRCCPNG, and JRCC Australia, jointly coordinates the SAR Operations since the report was received on December 19 to locate two missing banana boats by radio broadcast, INMARSAT and DSE activation on Safety Net.
The six survivors found are Douglas Kapuna, Gabriel Ahana, Julia Malua, Johnny Atona, Jeffery Atona and Arape James.