Cape Town, 16 September 2011
A joint exercise involving vessels belonging to Oceana Brands, a division of the Oceana Group, and the NSRI was held off Hout Bay on Friday morning. Three scenarios were conducted with 20 crew onboard the FV Emerald Isle, a steel-hulled fishing vessel, being put through their paces. The Oceana vessel was manned by senior officers and skippers from the company’s whole fleet in order to capitalise on this experience throughout the fleet (including sea-going and land-based persona).
Two Sea Rescue boats from Hout Bay took part in simulated man-over-board drills, a serious deck injury on the fishing boat, and the transfer of an injured fisherman to a rescue boat.
The day started at 07:45 when Oceana Crew arrived at Hout Bay’s NSRI base for a presentation on search patterns. Two rescue dummies (called ‘Buster’ and ‘Larry’) were made up with life jackets and ‘Buster’ had a GPS tracking unit fixed to him. Both dummies were transferred to the FV Emerald Isle and she sailed from Hout Bay at 09h30 to the exercise area, north-west of Kommetjie, where “Buster” and “Larry” “fell overboard”.
After the man-over-board protocols were practiced, the team was tested with a medical emergency onboard the FV Emerald Isle. This gave the fishing boats skipper, crew and the sea-rescue volunteers another scenario to practice working together.
Lyall Pringle, deputy Station Commander at Hout Bay NSRI, said that the exercise was a great success and will hopefully be repeated soon.
“It’s great to be able to build a relationship with Oceana like this. They have set protocols to follow in an emergency, and while it’s all very well knowing the theory, it’s this kind of practice that makes the drills second nature,” said Pringle.
“By working together we build a better bond and have the confidence that all parties know and have rehearsed how to respond should an emergency ever occur,” he said.
According to Oceana Brands Managing Director, Gavin Rhodes Harrison, “Our staff have been preparing for this session since the beginning of the year so there was great excitement and anticipation ahead of today, even though we have been involved in a number of exercises with the NSRI over the past few years. We value our partnership with the NSRI as it affords our employees, as well as the Institute, an opportunity to hone their skills and gather ‘learnings’ in order to be more proficient in a critical area of both our operations.” Rhodes Harrison added that the company has a proud history of zero fatalities at sea over the past 10 years.
Pictures are available for download from the Sea Rescue Flickr page.