On Friday and again on Saturday night the Australian Defence Force deployed P-8A Poseidon aircraft to deliver life rafts to 20 stranded fishermen who were clinging to their vessel 670nm west of Perth.
CAPTION: Indonesian fishermen wave to a RAAF P8-A Poseidon from their sinking fishing trawler 670 nautical miles off Perth, WA. Image supplied by AMSA.
They worked closely with other aircraft coordinated by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA).
HMAS Anzac, which was just hours away from docking in Perth after a recent deployment – with families ready to greet them at the wharf – was diverted to the scene.
AMSA Response Centre issued a broadcast to shipping on Thursday evening.
Saturday morning a Japanese fishing vessel arrived and successfully transferred the 20 fishermen from the sinking boat to their own.
All 20 aboard the Indonesian vessel have been rescued, with none reported lost.
Saturday afternoon HMAS Anzac successfully received the 20 fishermen from the Japanese vessel via Anzac’s sea boat.
The fishermen were medically assessed on board HMAS Anzac, with one requiring urgent care.
This person will be transferred by Anzac’s embarked MH-60R helicopter to a Perth hospital when in range of the coast tonight.
Defence is working with the Western Australian government to facilitate this transfer.
HMAS Anzac will then return the remaining fishermen to their home port in Bali with an expected arrival late next week.
Minister for Defence Peter Dutton thanked the crew of HMAS Anzac as well as the aircrew who dropped essential items, which helped the Indonesian crew survive until their rescue.
“I also want to acknowledge the patience and good will of the families of Anzac’s crew, who are now waiting longer to see their loved ones following a long deployment,” Mr Dutton said.
“Their efforts in bad weather and high sea state should make all Australians proud.
“They helped save 20 lives this weekend.”