SAMSA press release reporting the dispatch of the SA Agulhas II on 16th October 2020 to pick up the shipwrecked crew from Gough.

Geo Searcher – Rescue Operation Update

SAMSA LogoPress Release from the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA),
16th October 2020

A multi-organisational effort to collect the 62 seafarers of the now sunken, Belize registered vessel, Geo Searcher, is underway. SAMSA's MRCC, Department of Environmental Affairs (SA Agulhas II), and AMSOL along with the representatives and owners of the stricken vessel, have collaborated in arranging for the SA Research vessel SA Agulhas II to sail this morning (Friday 16th Oct) for Gough Island in the South Atlantic Ocean to collect the seafarers who had abandoned their vessel after it had reportedly struck a rock and started taking on water.

The stricken seafarers are 47 South African, 3 Portuguese, 1 British, 2 Ghanaian, 1 Indonesian, 4 Namibian and 2 Tristan citizens.

The seafarers had abandoned the vessel once the water ingress resulted in the vessel tilting (listing) 45 degrees in what was reported as unfavorable sea conditions. The seafarers managed to climb into lifeboats and other onboard small craft before making their way from the northern point of the island around to the southern region close to the SA research station. They were assisted ashore and are all reported to be accounted for. It has been reported that one seafarer sustained some minor injuries. They have all been accommodated at the research base and will remain there until the arrival of the SA Agulhas II.

The SA Agulhas II is expected to take about 3 days to reach the island, if weather conditions allow. The vessel is carrying two helicopters onboard which will greatly assist in the transfer of the stricken seafarers from the island to the vessel. It is expected that the vessel will then make its return voyage arriving by possibly next week Friday or Saturday.

The South African search and rescue region covers approximately 28 million km² of ocean stretching half way across to South America and half way to Australia and includes the Antarctic area up to the South Pole. The area is one of the biggest regions in the world and covers some of the most treacherous seas on the planet.

The coordination and collaboration efforts between SAMSA's MRCC and many other organisations deliver the service to seafarers in peril on our seas. Limited resources and the vastness of the area creates challenges but with these efforts, seafarers can rest assured that every possible effort will be made to render them the lifesaving service they may require.