The Australian Maritime Safety Authority has helped save the lives of 13 persons who had been missing for over a week in the Solomon Sea.
The vessel was reported to have broken down on 22 January in the vicinity of Alcester Island, 585 kilometres east of Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, with thirteen persons on board.
The Papua New Guinea search and rescue authorities requested AMSA’s help on 27 January to issue a broadcast to ships for the missing boat. On 29 January, AMSA deployed its Cairns-based Challenger jet to conduct a search for the vessel, focusing on an area of approximately 5926 square kilometres.
While conducting the search, the AMSA Challenger jet notified ships in the search area of the missing vessel. One of those ships, the cargo vessel KEN HOPE was able to locate the missing vessel and rescue the 13 persons.
All survivors were reported to be in good health. Upon rescuing the missing persons, the KEN HOPE diverted to Misima Island, Papua New Guinea, to land the survivors.
AMSA Response Centre Duty Manager, Stephen Hart, said the rescue was just another instance of AMSA’s search and rescue staff located in Canberra saving lives.
“Our people make an incredible difference, what they do is very often the difference between life and death for mariners who find themselves in distress,” Hart said.
“In this instance, our Challenger jet was able to speak to the ships in the search area directly, which resulted in the KEN HOPE locating the thirteen missing persons.
“As Australia’s search and rescue region totals about ten percent of the earth’s surface, our team is kept very busy. However, being able to help our neighbors like Papua New Guinea is incredibly rewarding. It also builds cooperation and capability across the broader pacific search and rescue region.”