There were two Japanese, 19 Filipinos and three Vietnamese on board and not an Australian in sight but they were a welcome growing dot on the horizon when the two sailors on the yacht Mehitable put out a distress call this week 170 nautical miles off Brisbane. The merchant sailors were on their way to Newcastle on the bulk carrier Yahagi Maru when they heard the call of the drifting yacht.
Mehitable’s rather large rescue vessel Yahagi Maru
They were 40 miles from the distressed vessel and immediately changed course towards the given waypoint. At the same time they were contacted by the Australian Coast Guard, who get their information from AMVER, the organisation that coordinates the voluntary band of ships who respond to emergency calls on the high seas.
Yahagi Maru, measuring 249m and weighing more than 55,500 tons, reached the disabled yacht in a few hours and rescued the two crew, then resumed their course towards Newcastle. The following morning, the coastguard met with the Yahagi Maru mid-ocean off the coast of Brisbane and the unfortunate sailors, who had had to abandon their boat, were transferred.
Ships mostly reach the world press when they spill oil or hit reefs, so it's good to be able to say thank you for the dozens of passage-making sailors who are rescued by ships that depart from their course each year to rescue them, and thanks to www.amver.com!AMVER.