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05-09-2012 13.24.28
SAR Operation - Sailing vessel Rzeszowiak
On the 4th of September 2012 at 0638 UTC a Cospas Sarsat signal was received from the Polish Sailing vessel Rzeszowiak / Call Sign SPG 2941. The position given was 61 25.1 N, 009 41.9 W, which is some 80 nm SW of the Faroe Islands. There was a NW-ly storm in the area, wind appr. 30 - 35 m/s, and rough seas with waves up to 10 - 12 m.
Communication could not be established with the vessel from shore, but the fishing vessel Thor which was in the vicinity was in brief contact with the vessel with a crew of 10, and relayed information to MRCC and Torshavnradio. The communication with the vessel was very broken and difficult. The vessel was in distress, and one person was uncounsious. Further the vessel was adrift with a broken mast and without power, and urgent evacuation was needed.
Due to the bad weather conditions F/V Thor was unable to assist, and other ships in the vicinity were ordered on scene. The Faroese trawlers Rókur and Lerkur headed for the casualty, but steaming time was appr. 5 - 6 hours and speed hampered due to the bad weather. At the same time the Faroese rescue helicopter was called out and headed for the casualty. The Faroese C.G. vessel Brimil and the Danish Military vessel Hvidbjørnen with helicopter onboard were also asked to assist.
At appr. 1000 UTC the helicopter found the vessel close to the given position. The vessel was adrift, but communication with the crew could not be established. Therefore a portable VHF was lowered onto the sail boat and communication established. Due to the weather and rigging of the vessel it was not possible to hoist any crew members from the boat and the helicopter had to return to shore for refueling. Shortly afterwards the danish Lynx helicopter arrived on the scene. Due to the weather it proved impossible to hoist from the vessel.
When the third helicopter arrived a second portable VHF and an Iridium telephone, was lowered onto the boat, and communication established to shore. The crew informed that urgent evacuation of all crew was needed, one person was uncousious and one injured. Still the helicopters were unable to hoist due to the bad weather conditions, and the helicopters had to return to shore for refueling.
At 1445 hours the forth helicopter arrived on scene. One bag of immersion suits was lowered onto the boat and one bag transferred vit the F/V Lerkur. Also a rescue swimmer was lowered onto the rubber dingy from the sailing vessel, and the crew towed the boat alongside. The rescue swimmer entered the sail boat to evaluate the situation, but safe evacuation of the crew in this manner proved impossible due to the weather, and the helicopter returned to base for refueling.
Hence it was decided to evacuate the crew by means of the Fast Rescue Boat from C.G. vessel Brimil which arrived on the Scene at 1700 UTC. As a safety precaution it was decided to have a Helicopter on scene while the transfer was being made, and when the Danish Lynx helicopter arrived at appr. 1735 UTC the evacuation of the the 10 crew members was started by FRC to the C.G. vessel Brimil. During this operation another helicopter arrived on scene in order to relieve the former helicopter and the two injured persons where hoisted from Brimil and transported to the hospital in the Faroe Islands.
Once the transfer was completed the C.G. vessel Brimil set course for Torshavn in the Faroe Islands and the fishing vessel Rókur took the damaged sailing vessel Rzeszowiak on tow, and started towing it towards shore. Brimil arrived in Torshavn at appr. 0900 hours on the 5th of September, and the rescued crew members handed over to the relevant authorities.