NSRI STATION 20, SHELLY BEACH : CALTEX CHALLENGER II BACK IN THE THICK OF THINGS
Within four days of being back on Station 20, Shelly Beach, after a refit in Cape Town, the stations 5,5m RIB, Caltex Challenger II, was back in the thick of things.
On Saturday 22 December the duty crew took her out for training in adverse weather conditions not thinking that within 24 hours she would be used to transfer 11 passengers from a local pleasure boat experiencing mechanical problems.
On Sunday 23 December the pleasure boat was returning from a cruise when mechanical problems compelled the skipper to request NSRI to assist in transferring the passengers from his vessel onto Challenger and Delta 20 (wave runner) and to get them safely to the beach. Challenger then stood by to be of assistance should it be required as the damaged vessel beached. The vessel beached safely.
As this was happening a second call came in.
This time a ski-boat had lost steering about 0.5nm off shore and required a tow. Station Commander Mark Harlen launched the 7.2m RIB, Caltex Endeavour, and rendezvoused with the damaged vessel. Endeavour came alongside and transferred three passengers from the vessel and placed a crewman on it to support the skipper, if required. The vessel was towed safely to the beach.
“It was a baptism of fire for Challenger and she did not disappoint us”, Harlen said at the end of a long day at the station.