Thursday, July 17, 2014

Bulk Freight Carriers Again Come to the Aid of Vessel Crews as Typhoon Glenda and Accidents Strike

Maritime Rescues are a Regular Feature of Merchant Shipping Life
Shipping News Feature

PHILIPPINES – INDIAN OCEAN – A regular feature of freight and logistics news, and one that all too often gets bypassed as a result, is the contribution made, often on a daily basis, which merchant shipping makes to the safe passage of others, usually suffering as a result of accident or illness. This week it is the terrible devastation caused by Typhoon Glenda (Rammasun) and she rages on toward mainland China after leaving dozens dead and half a million displaced in the Philippine archipelago which has caused problems for seafarers.

Four fisherman out of Oriental Mindoro to fish off Busuanga in Palawan were swamped by huge waves on Tuesday, tearing off the tiny vessel’s outrigger and leaving the men clinging to tie planks and bamboo with no radio or means of communication, even the transistor radio aboard was not working ensuring the crew had been unaware of the approaching storm.

By a miracle a passing vessel, reportedly the 42,000 dwt bulk carrier MV Pacific Pioneer flagged in Hong Kong and en route to Mindoro to take shelter from the typhoon, spotted the wreckage and its passengers who had been clinging on for over a day and were able to effect a rescue of the four Filipinos who were relatively unscathed and passed to the care of the Philippine coastguard.

Less than a week ago a crewman taking place in an Ocean Row Events mission to row from Western Australia to Durban, South Africa, over nearly 5,000 miles of open ocean, was severely scalded in a cooking accident and was rescued and treated by the Nordic River, a 26,000 tonne ammonia carrier owned by K Line after an alert from the Australian Rescue Coordination Centre (ARCC).

The injured man, Shane Usher, was from the specially built rowing boat Avalon whose six-man and one woman crew was taking her non-stop across the Indian Ocean, having only departed Geraldton, Australia, on June 11, the day of the accident. The accident response was coordinated by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) and Global Rescue, a crisis response firm providing medical, security, evacuation, and travel risk management services to corporations, governments and individuals.

After treatment by the bulk carriers crew the patient is due to be discharged, with his burns reported as stable, to medical authorities in Dampier on July 18.

Photo: A launch from the Nordic River manoeuvres around the Avalon.