UK Coastguard have co-ordinated a long range rescue, after an oil tanker sank 240 miles off the coast of Yemen, on early hours of June 26, due to inclement weather conditions. Commercial vessels nearby recovered 12 of the 14 crew, one crew was recovered by a Royal Navy Rescue Helicopter and one remains unaccounted for.
According to UK Coast Guard, the Panamanian-flagged, 99 meter-long tanker, believed to have been carrying crude oil, sent a distress call, reporting that it was sinking, at around 4.30am. UK Coast Guard issued a Satellite Communication Mayday relay broadcast to all shipping in the area.
Multiple commercial vessels nearby responded to the original Mayday call and made their way to the tanker, which had sunk in gale force 8 winds and 5 metres swells.
Steve Carson, Commander for UK Coastguard said: “This was a desperate situation for the fourteen crewmen, who were given no other option but to jump into the sea after the tanker sank in severe weather conditions. Given the fact that Yemen does not have a Coastguard to assist with these types of incidents the UK Coastguard stepped in to lead the search and rescue mission. It was incredibly lucky that commercial vessels were nearby and managed to make their way to the scene quite quickly and rescue 12 crew members.
There is evidence that the 3,000 tonnes of oil the tanker was carrying has gone down with the vessel.
Sadly, one crew member is unaccounted for and due to the weather conditions on scene and the oil spilled, the commercial vessels are unable to deploy their lifeboats. Our priority is to protect life at sea and we will always do everything possible to provide assistance for a mariner in need”, he concluded.