Sinking of the bulk carrier Ioannis NK and the rescue of its crew
was reported in near real time earlier today. The headlines
alone captured the dramatic of the daring rescue. All crew were
safely removed from the stricken ship by South African Air Force
helicopters just before the ship sank.
Tug Rushes to Aid of Bulk Carrier - The lives of 20 sailors are
in peril in stormy seas 100 miles off the Cape West Coast as
their small bulk carrier battles through huge swells with a bad leak.
The salvage tug Smit Amandla left Cape Town harbour just after
7am and rushed to the aid of the 32-year-old Ioannis NK, a 22
000-ton displacement ship fully laden with sugar, after her crew
alerted safety authorities in Cape Town. However, an hour later
the ship’s master relayed a Mayday call after his crew found
they were unable to stem the inrush of water.
Water was flowing into the ship’s number four cargo hold and
concerns were that she would sink before help arrived, a
spokesperson for the Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre in
Cape Town confirmed.
SA Air Force in daring rescue - Cape Town – South African Air
Force helicopters airlifted the crew of a stricken ship to
safety shortly before it sank off the West Coast on Thursday afternoon.
The Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) said the captain
of the bulk carrier Ioannis NK reported at 06:00 that his vessel
was “taking on water and listing”.
MRCC spokesperson Sarene Kloren told Sapa two SAAF helicopters,
operating out of their Ysterplaat base in Cape Town, made two
trips to remove the 20 crew.
Sailors leave stricken carrier just in time - The crew of a
stricken bulk carrier had to abandon ship after their vessel
began taking on water off the West Coast on Thursday.
The badly listing Ioannis NK then sank before the eyes of a
salvage crew, just two hours after the ship’s crew of 20 were
taken to safety by Air Force helicopters.
The captain of the ship, which was carrying 22,500 tons of
sugar, contacted the Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre at 6am
on Thursday when it began taking on water and listing. It was
more than 150 nautical miles from Cape Town, and 98 nautical
miles off Cape Columbine.
At 7am the salvage tug Smit Amandla and the two Oryx
helicopters carrying NSRI swimmers were sent from Cape Town to help.
Initially, rescuers planned to remove 16 “non-essential” crew
members, leaving four others on board to try to keep the vessel
upright, according to Mark Steed, of the Maritime Rescue
Co-ordination Centre (MRCC), but then all were flown to Saldanha Bay.
“An assessment was made and it was deemed unsafe for any
personnel to be left on board,” Smit spokesperson Clare Gomes said.
The ship was drifting and listing at a 45-degree angle before it
sank, MRCC spokesperson Sarene Kloren said.