Clifford Ireland, NSRI Durban station commander, said: “At 13h20 (Saturday, 18th May), while our NSRI Durban volunteer sea rescue duty crew were on routine training at our sea rescue base, we overheard a VHF radio message, from the motor tanker ship WAPPEN VON BREMEN, informing the Transnet National Ports Authority that they were witnessing a small boat with two men on board who were paddling towards the tanker off-shore of Umhlanga and they appeared to be giving clear signalling indications that they were in some form of distress.
“We informed Durban’s Port Control that we had intercepted the VHF radio message and at 13h25 we launched our sea rescue craft MEGAN II and responded to the location, off-shore of Umhlanga, where we found the 5 meter rubber-duck SILVER TIP with Quentin van der Mescht, 34, and Gustav Keet, 65, both from Kingburgh, South of Durban. They had a suspected flat battery and were unable to start their motor.
“To raise the alarm they had decided to paddle towards the tanker ship to request help after they had been unable to start their motor.
“We rigged a tow-line to the rubber-duck and towed them to Vetchies Beach where once they were safely beached and their boat put on her trailer they required no further assistance.”