12 rescued in St Francis Bay as chokka boat runs ground

SEPTEMBER 12, 2016

At 03h44, on Monday, the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) St Francis Bay duty crew were activated following a report from Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) that the 48 foot Chokka fishing boat Barcelona, with 12 crew onboard, was running aground on the lee side of Shark Point, 1.5 nautical miles South East of the Port of St Francis.

"The Chokka fishing boat Barcelona broadcast a Mayday distress call reporting to be running aground. The Mayday distress call was intercepted by Telkom Maritime Radio Services," described NSRI spokesperson, Craig Lambinon.

"NSRI St Francis Bay duty crew responded directly to the scene. The private ski-boat Pescavore with an NSRI crewman onboard responded to the scene to investigate.

"Other boats including the Chokka boat Oranda and Sea Cat and the ski-boat Virago had also responded to assist. Reportedly other additional boats that had intercepted the Mayday distress call had also gone to the scene to assist."

Lambinon said all 12 crew members of Barcelona were found to be abandoning their vessel onto rocks where the vessel had run hard aground from unknown causes.

"It appears that while abandoning their vessel onto rocks the casualty crew had been swamped by waves but all 12 were confirmed to be safely ashore," he added.
"Sea conditions were breaking surf of 3 to 4 meters, in rain and a 15 knot Westerly wind. 

"As NSRI St Francis Bay crew approached the scene on the land side, of the 12 casualty crew of Barcelona, 2 crew members were found to have already walked to the Port of St Francis, 7 crew were found walking towards the Port of St Francis and the skipper and two of his crew were found at the scene on the shore."

The skipper was treated for hypothermia and for shock and he was secured into a Stokes basket stretcher and carried to the Port of St Francis by NSRI crew where Private Care ambulance services paramedics took over care of the skipper and he has been transported to hospital in a stable condition by ambulance.

"The remaining 11 crew were treated for minor cuts and bruises and some for mild hypothermia but they did not require to be hospitalised and they were released requiring no further assistance," said Lambinon.

"SAMSA are investigating the incident."