At 16h32 on Monday the 28th of September, NSRI Port Alfred duty crew were activated by the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) reporting the 42 meter Gas & Oil Exploration guarding vessel RAMBLER, sailing from Madagascar to Cape Town, suffering mechanical motor failure, adrift at sea and dragging her anchor and threatening to run aground within hours, off Port Alfred.
NSRI Port Alfred launched our sea rescue craft LOTTO CHALLENGER and on arrival on-scene, 5 nautical miles East of Port Alfred, 1.5 nautical miles off-shore, in 3 meter swells and a 20 knot South Westerly wind, it was estimated that with the current drift RAMBLER would run aground in about 2 hours.
Our sea rescue craft would tow them further out to sea if the danger of running aground grew.
The TNPA tug boat SHIRAZ had been dispatched from Port Elizabeth, with an NSRI Port Elizabeth rescue swimmer onboard as a precaution, but were only due to arrive on the scene at around 01h00.
The 6 crew aboard RAMBLER were working to re-start their motor, efforts that had been going on all day. Their efforts were successful and they were able to motor further out to sea without our assistance.
Our NSRI sea rescue craft stayed with them until they were safely motoring away from land and a fair distance off-shore and then left them to return to Port Alfred harbour, while remaining on alert, and later in the evening we returned to their position to stand-by with them for safety and found them to be 5 nautical miles off the Kowie River Mouth.
Our sea rescue craft remained with them for a while and after they were deemed to be safe, and no longer in any imminent danger of running aground, we returned to base and remained on alert until SHIRAZ arrived on the scene at 02h00 on Tuesday morning. SHIRAZ has towed them safely to the Port of Port Elizabeth, arriving safely at around 19h00 on Tuesday evening.
This picture is available on Sea Rescue’s Flickr page for media download.
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