The crew of HMAS Ararat rescued a Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) crew last Saturday after the police vessel was reported missing.
CAPTION: Royal Australian Navy personnel transfer passengers from a stricken Royal Solomon Islands Police Force vessel to HMAS Ararat on May 21. Story by Captain Lily Charles.
The Royal Australian Navy patrol boat’s crew was responding to a search and rescue request from the RSIPF.
The crews of an Australian-contracted Forum Fisheries Agency King Air aircraft and an Australian Federal Police-contracted helicopter were able to locate the stricken vessel and contact those on board prior to Ararat’s arrival.
Commanding Officer of HMAS Ararat, Lieutenant Commander David Martinussen, said the rescue was a collective effort between partners.
“I am very proud of how professionally the team in HMAS Ararat responded to assist our friends in need,” Lieutenant Commander Martinussen said.
“The team was simply outstanding.
“We assessed the situation and quickly closed the search area from over 200 nautical miles (370km) away.
“The rescue was the result of excellent teamwork and a collective effort with our partners in Solomon Islands.”
The rescued RSIPF personnel and other passengers on board were in good health when they were found.
They were transferred to Ararat where they were provided with fresh meals and water during the journey back to Korovou, Shortland Island.
The RSIPF vessel was put under tow and offloaded on return to the island.
Lieutenant Commander Martinussen said the crew of Ararat was privileged to be able to provide assistance.
“The crew of HMAS Ararat was pleased to be able to assist our friends and fellow mariners from the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force,” he said.
“When we arrived on station, the vessel’s crew and passengers were smoothly embarked in Ararat to ensure their health and wellbeing.
“The stricken vessel was then taken under tow.
“After an overnight escort, the vessel and our guests were safely repatriated onto Southland Island the following morning.
“Today’s events highlight the Australian Defence Force is ready and willing to respond when our Pacific family call on us for assistance.”
HMAS Ararat is providing maritime surveillance support in the area at the request of the Solomon Islands Government.