Late last night, the St Francis NSRI received a request for assistance from the Chokka fishing boats ALTAR and SOUTHERN STAR who had collided at sea approximately 5 nautical miles off-shore.
The ALTAR was taking on water through a hole on the port side of the vessel.
There appeared to be minimal damage to SOUTHERN STAR, and the ALTER was rafted against the SOUTHERN STAR to prevent the ship from sinking.
Water was being pumped out of ALTAR while motoring towards Port St Francis.
The NSRI St Francis Bay launched their sea rescue craft, with extra water extrication pumps, and rendezvoused with the stricken vessels 2 nautical miles off-shore.
On arrival the extra pumps were transferred onto ALTAR and the pumps helped to stem the flow of water into the damaged vessel.
“Our sea rescue craft took 11 crew members off ALTAR taking them safely to shore in two relays while the Skipper and the First Mate remained on board,” said the NSRI in a statement.
Pumping water out of ALTAR is a continuous effort as the large hole in the side of ALTAR is below the water line and until repairs can be made, SOUTHERN STAR will have to remain rafted to the side of ALTAR to prevent her from sinking and water will have to continuously be pumped from the vessel until temporary repairs can be carried out, according to the NSRI.
“The NSRI towed the two vessels to just off-shore of Port St Francis.
The ships cannot come into Port rafted to each other so they remain a few hundred meters off-shore of Port St Francis and have arranged salvage to patch the hole at sea today before bringing her into Port for repairs.
No one was injured and it is confirmed the water pumps are managing to extricate water faster than it flows into ALTAR and SOUTHERN STAR remains rafted to the side of ALTAR assisting to keep her afloat.