Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has coordinated the rescue of 20 Indonesian fishermen aboard a semi-submerged 35 metre fishing vessel in distress about 670 nautical miles west of Perth. On 13 May Indonesian authorities notified the AMSA Response Centre that the vessel was in distress and required assistance. Early the next day, a Perth AMSA Challenger Jet flew out to the vessel and dropped several life rafts. The Australian Defence Force also assisted by providing two Royal Australian Air Force P-8A Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft and one C-130J Hercules, who were also able to deploy life rafts to the vessel.

A Japanese fishing vessel diverted to the distress vessel and rendered assistance. HMAS Anzac subsequently arrived and transferred the fishermen on board the long-range Navy frigate, which had medical support on board. The fishermen are receiving medical support. One requires urgent care and will be transferred by Anzac’s embarked MH-60R helicopter to a Perth hospital when in range of the coast Sunday night. Defence is working with the Western Australian government to facilitate this transfer. Anzac will then return the remaining fishermen to their home port in Bali with an expected arrival late next week.

Australian Maritime Safety Authority Executive Director Response Mark Morrow said the rescue was a relief to all involved. He said the quick response of the Japanese boat, Fukuseki Maru 15 was instrumental to the success of the mission. The successful saving of 20 lives at sea is an incredible achievement of which all responding authorities should be proud.”

Minister for Defence Peter Dutton said “I want to thank the crew of HMAS Anzac as well as the air crew who dropped essential items, which helped the Indonesian crew survive until their rescue. I also want to acknowledge the patience and good will of the families of Anzac’s crew, who are now waiting longer to see their loved ones following a long deployment. We will have your sailors back with you as soon as possible. Their efforts in bad weather and high sea state should make all Australians proud. They helped save 20 lives.”


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