Brad Geyser, NSRI Hout Bay station commander said: “On the 18th March 2009 at 16h24 NSRI Hout Bay, NSRI Kommetjie and NSRI Simonstown were activated following a distress VHF radio message, intercepted by Maritime Radio Services, from the 16 metre fishing trawler Amber Rose reporting to be taking water 20 nautical miles South of Cape Point with a crew of 12 on-board in 1.5 metre swells and a 20 knot South Easterly wind.
NSRI Hout Bay launched MTU Nadine Gordimer and Albie Matthews and NSRI Simonstown launched Spirit of Safmarine III, all carrying water pumps to be taken to the trawler. NSRI Kommetjie launched Spirit of Winelands to rendezvous with NSRI Hout Bay’s rescue craft as they sailed passed Kommetjie to deliver a third water pump to be taken out to the casualty vessel.
Fishing trawlers and private boats that were in the area at the time responded to the distress call.
The private boat Free Spirit, a Simonstown craft, arrived on-scene first and transferred her water pump on-board to assist with extricating water from the casualty craft and she stood by on-scene to take crew of the casualty vessel over (if necessary) pending the arrival of the NSRI rescue craft.
Fearing that the casualty vessel may overflow with water and in case the crew needed to abandon ship the Transnet National Ports Authority placed an SA Air Force 35 Squadron Dakota fixed wing aircraft on alert to deliver and drop (at the casualty vessel) extra life-rafts if necessary. All rescue craft arrived on-scene in time to prevent the call to abandon ship!
On arrival on-scene NSRI rescuers were put aboard the trawler and the extra water pumps delivered by the NSRI were set in motion. An NSRI Engineer assessed the damage which appears to be a gaping hole in the port side behind midships. What caused the damage will form part of an investigation by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA).
The trawler was initially able to be escorted under her own engine power towards the closest harbour, Hout Bay, but during the escort she suffered mechanical failure and the vessel was taken under tow by our rescue craft MTU Nadine Gordimer.
NSRI Kommetjie launched Spirit of Winelands again at 21h26 to respond to assist NSRI Hout Bay’s rescue craft to bring the casualty vessel to mooring in Hout Bay harbour.
The casualty vessel was able to steer to a mooring under her own power once in the shelter of Hout Bay harbour and was safely moored at 22h50.
No injuries to any of her crew were sustained.
The casualty vessel will be kept afloat during the night with the use of water pumps and the owners are arranging salvage efforts to prevent the inflow of water and to begin repairs.”