Andre Fletcher, NSRI Durban deputy station commander, said:.
At 10h05, Tuesday, 11 July, NSRI Durban duty crew and NSRI ASR (Air Sea Rescue) were alerted following a request by MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre) to provide paramedics and Air Sea Rescue crew to an SA Air Force (SAAF) 15 Squadron Oryx helicopter tasked to respond to airlift an injured survivor of the Taiwanese fishing vessel Hsiang Fuh No. 6 that reportedly burnt on Sunday.
The injured survivor was reported to be suffering from burns sustained during the fire on the fishing vessel and heading towards the Port of Durban on the 294 meter container vessel Ever Diadem, with other survivors, and at that stage 25 nautical miles from Port.
It appears that the Taiwanese fishing vessel Hsiang Fuh No. 6 was ablaze on Sunday, 09 July, some 400 nautical miles off-shore East of the South African coastline and the 294 meter container ship Ever Diadem had reportedly witnessed the burning vessel and diverted to assist while raising the alarm.
Other vessels, in the area at the time, responding to a Mayday call, had diverted to assist and the bulk carriers Hampton Bay and SBI Antares joined Ever Diadem in a rescue operation at sea.
30 survivors, believed to be all of the crew, of the fishing vessel Hsiang Fuh No. 6, had abandoned ship onto 2 lifeboats and 14 of the survivors were taken onboard the SBI Antares and 16 of the survivors were taken onboard the Ever Diadem and they were being brought to the Port of Durban aboard the 2 ships.
It appears that only this morning it had been revealed that one survivor, a 29 year old Filipino, was reported to be suffering burns and reported to be in a serious condition onboard one of the ships, the Ever Diadem, and NSRI were tasked by MRCC to patient evacuate the injured survivor off the ship.
The NSRI Durban sea rescue craft Eikos Rescuer II, accompanied by a Netcare 911 rescue paramedic, was launched and rendezvoused with the ship Ever Diadem 6 nautical miles from the Port of Durban.
On arrival on the scene NSRI medics and the Netcare 911 rescue paramedic were transferred onto the ship and the injured sailor was treated for severe burns, suffering approximately 40% 2nd and 3rd degree burns, and he was stabilised and a second patient, a 63 year old Chinese survivor, was treated for soft tissue injuries to his right knee.
An SA Air Force (SAAF) 15 Squadron Oryx helicopter had by that stage been dispatched carrying 3 Netcare 911 rescue paramedics and on arrival on the scene 2 rescue paramedics were hoisted onto the ship and they assisted with stabilising the 2 patients and both patients were hoisted into the helicopter, in 2 relays, in a helicopter rescue basket.
The 2 rescue paramedics were then hoisted into the helicopter and both patients were airlifted to hospital in the helicopter – the 29 year old Filipino sailor in a stable but serious condition and the 63 year old Chinese sailor in a stable condition.
Both ships, with all remaining 28 survivors of the Taiwanese trawler, who are not injured, remain at anchorage off-shore of the Port of Durban and the 2 ships are waiting for permission from the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) to enter Port where once safely berthed the survivors will disembark into the care of authorities.
Telkom Maritime Radio Services are broadcasting an all ships alert warning ships at sea of the abandoned fishing vessel that remains adrift.
TO REPORT A SEA RESCUE EMERGENCY DIAL 112 FROM A CELLPHONE