The importance of having communication with family or friends when at sea was once again highlighted recently.
Earlier this month the Mossel Bay Harbour Master contacted the Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) in Cape Town about a phone call that he had received from the wife of the skipper regarding an incident off the coast of Madagascar.
The skipper of the yacht had contacted his wife via his SatPhone informing her that his yacht, the Erica, had run aground off the west coast of Madagascar. He was on a life raft with the EPIRB onboard.
The MRCC Cape Town attempted to inform the MRCC Madagascar, however due to language difficulties and equipment failure in Madagascar they could not be contacted. The MRCC contacted the South African embassy in Madagascar who gave them contact details of someone at the Nossi Be yacht club who would be able to assist them in their search and rescue mission. Fortunately there were yachts in the area that immediately headed towards the life raft.
At the same time the South African Embassy staff assisted in mobilizing the Madagascar SAR authorities which dispatched a coastguard vessel to assist the yacht crew. The crew was rescued off the yacht’s life-raft which had been tied to a mangrove tree. They were met by the South African embassy staff in Nossi Be, Madagascar.