Farncomb assists rescue of Indonesian fishermen

This article has photo gallery Published on CAPT James Lybrand (author), POIS Paul McCallum (author)

Topic(s): HMAS Farncomb (S74), Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS)

Norwegian merchant vessel MV Fermita closes on a stranded Indonesian fishing boat. (photo: Unknown)
Norwegian merchant vessel MV Fermita closes on a stranded Indonesian fishing boat.

The crew of an Indonesian fishing vessel, stranded 100 nautical miles from land, have been rescued thanks to the efforts of the crew of submarine, HMAS Farncomb

A chance encounter north of the equator, as the submarine was making her way to Singapore to participate in Exercise BERSAMA SHIELD, was what led to the safety of life at sea scenario.

As Farncomb approached the fishing boat, a crew member was seen waving a shirt and raising and lowering a flag to attract attention.

Through the use of Indonesian speaking sailors from Farncomb, it became apparent the fishing boat had suffered a mechanical issue, and had been adrift for seven days.

While not able to provide direct support to the fishing boat, Farncomb contacted Indonesian search and rescue agencies to alert them of the situation.

Concurrently, the Norwegian merchant vessel MV Fermita was spotted on the horizon, and Fancomb coordinated the recovery of the crew who were taken to Singapore.

Search and rescue are not normal operations for submarines, but the safety of life at sea is a key responsibility of all mariners, and the coordinated efforts of Farncomb and MV Fermita have ensured the safe return of the fishermen.