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Pictures are available for media download here. UPDATE 09 November:Cape Nature Conservation's Enrico Menezies dived on the DESHAN LANKA wreck and found the it to show signs of severe damage from fire. While it appears that the vessel has no fuel onboard (it is suspected to have burnt out in the blaze) the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) have taken over the operation and will conduct further investigations as well as making decisions on what is to become of the wreck.The wreck is anchored to prevent her from drifting and NSRI remain on stand-by to assist if necessary.Maritime Radio Services continue to broadcast routine marine navigational warnings about the navigational hazard for other vessels in the area.The vessel is lying semi-submerged 4 nautical miles East of Still Bay.UPDATE 2: 08 November 2011:The fishing trawler DESHAN LANKA has been found floating with just her nose sticking out of the water 4 nautical miles from Witsand, in the direction of Still Bay, and 2 nautical miles off-shore.NSRI Witsand were contacted by fishermen who had come across the submerged vessel last night. At first light NSRI Witsand launched their sea rescue craft Queenie Payne to investigate the discovery.NSRI Still Bay are arranging an anchor from Mossel Bay and they will attempt, later today, to secure an anchor in an effort to prevent her from drifting further (and possibly not being able to be found again).Maritime Radio Services are broadcasting a navigational warning to ships in the area to warn of the navigational hazard. The trawler is 72 feet (18 meters) long.SAMSA (The South African Maritime Safety Authority) have been informed and any environmental threat will be investigated and a decision on what is to become of the vessel and further steps to be taken to be decided.Photographs are being arranged but are not yet available.UPDATE : Four survivors from the DESHAN LANKA have been found on a liferaft 20km off-shore by NSRI volunteers from Still Bay on-board the rescue boat Spirit of St Francis.Pictures for media download are available on the Sea Rescue Flickr site.On arrival in the search area a search commenced from our sea rescue boat and once we began searching, starting at coordinates that the four men had given to their ships agent, we were provided with a cell phone number belonging to the men. We called them and were able to determine their position from their GPS (Global Positioning System).We found them 18 nm South West of Still Bay. The nearest land to them was Jongensfontein, about 20km away.They were quite emotional and very glad to see NSRI. They are all in good spirits although the language barrier was a bit of a problem it was clear to see the delight on their faces from being rescued.From what we understand their vessel caught fire and sunk on Sunday afternoon (NOT ON SATURDAY AS PREVIOUSLY THOUGHT). They abandoned their sinking vessel and got into their life-raft. The red distress flares that they set off appear to have gone unnoticed.It is not exactly clear where their vessel caught fire and sunk and we are awaiting a formal investigation to hear the finer details but they were not in cell-phone range and only drifted into cell-phone range at around 11a.m. today (Tuesday, 01 November), when they were able to make a phone call to raise the alarm.They were brought back to our sea rescue station and we have fed them and made them comfortable.The Sri Lankan Embassy are assisting us with language interpretation and SAMSA (The South African Maritime safety Authority) have obtained a statement. The 4 men have been handed into the custody of South African immigration officials.Metro EMS paramedics and our local Still Bay doctor have checked them and declaired all in good health ... and a lot happier after eating a hot meal.'The names of the men, all adult males, are not being released until the immigration authorities and their agents have formally processed them.Survivors from the the 57.5 foot Sri-Lankan registered DESHAN LANKA as they are found by the Still Bay Sea Rescue boat SPIRIT OF ST FRANCIS.
The original press release:STILL BAY – Tuesday 01st November 2011. Search for 4 people reported to be on a life-raft adrift at sea:At 12h06 NSRI Still Bay were called out by the Transnet National Ports Authority to search for a life-raft believed to be adrift at sea between Still Bay and Witsand with 4 fishermen onboard.The NSRI Still Bay volunteer duty crew have launched the rescue boat SPIRIT OF ST FRANCIS to respond to approximately 18 nautical miles off Still Bay on a search and rescue operation.NSRI Witsand have been placed on high alert.It appears that the life-raft and the 4 fishermen may have been adrift at sea since Saturday after their boat apparently caught fire. The fate of their fishing trawler, the 57.5 foot Sri-Lankan registered DESHAN LANKA, is not known.According to reports the 4 fishermen are not injured but their exact whereabouts, suspected to be in the vicinity of coordinates provided to Maritime authorities, is still to be determined.Maritime Radio Services are assisting the NSRI with marine communications.Metro EMS have been alerted to be on stand-by.It has emerged that SAMSA (The South African Maritime Safety Authority) detained the fishing trawler in East London a month ago after a routine inspection found the vessel to be carrying no Marine VHF Radio and no safety equipment – no life-jackets, no red distress flares and no life–raft. The vessel was only released to return to sea once these requirements had been met to the satisfaction of SAMSA authorities.It is believed that the vessel was heavily laden with fuel reportedly for a voyage to Sierra Leone.
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