Two sailors from a capsized yacht were rescued in extreme sea conditions by the crew of the Royal Australian Navy destroyer HMAS Brisbane on July 2.
CAPTION: HMAS Brisbane’s rigid hulled inflatable boat crew rescues the stricken mariners from the hull of their upturned yacht off the coast of Wollongong. Photo supplied.
The two experienced mariners’ yacht rolled about 15 nautical miles off Wollongong on the NSW South Coast at about 1am.
The Joint Rescue Coordination Centre reported the vessel missing and initiated a search shortly after 1pm. Brisbane responded to the call, reaching the 60-square-nautical-mile search area about an hour later.
After the upturned yacht was reported by a passing merchant vessel, MV Arietta Lily, just after 3pm, Brisbane headed to its position.
The two yachtsmen, who were found clinging to the hull of their vessel, were rescued by the destroyer’s rigid hulled inflatable boat in 56km/h winds and two-metre swells.
Despite spending 15 hours in the ocean, the two sailors were assessed as being in good condition as Brisbane made the journey back to Sydney to reunite the survivors with their loved ones.
Following the rescue, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority thanked the vessels involved in an official message.
“The quick response of the ADF and Arietta Lily to our distress broadcast was in the finest traditions of seafarers, and we appreciate the commendable seamanship of both Arietta Lily and HMAS Brisbane in sighting the survivors, maintaining visual contact and coordinating a response and then recovering them in challenging conditions.”
Commanding Officer Brisbane Commander Kingsley Scarce said the ship’s company were pleased to play their part in the rescue, and paid tribute to their bravery in difficult conditions.
“We were happy that we could come to the aid of fellow mariners in their time of need,” Commander Scarce said.
“It was tremendous teamwork from all of Brisbane’s crew, from those who coordinated the search effort and response, to the bridge crew and lookouts, to those who provided medical care and hospitality, to the survivors once rescued, and to all others who supported. The entire crew was eager to do whatever they could in the rescue effort.
“I want to particularly acknowledge the bravery of the sea boat crew, who conducted the rescue in appalling sea conditions.”
The survivors were reunited with families at Fleet Base East at about 7pm on July 2.
The location of the stricken yacht was reported to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, which notified all vessels of the navigation hazard.