Australia Indonesian fishermen rescued from sinking fishing vessel off WA coast

14:50  16 may  2021
14:50  16 may  2021 Source:   abc.net.au

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Twenty Indonesian fishermen have been rescued from a sinking fishing boat off the coast of Western Australia in an operation involving Australian authorities and a Japanese fishing vessel.

Indonesia authorities notified the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) on Thursday that the vessel was in distress 670 nautical miles west of Perth.

The Perth AMSA Challenger jet dropped life jackets to the group on Friday before Australian Defence Force (ADF) aircraft deployed life rafts to the vessel.

After a Japanese fishing vessel arrived to assist the boat on Saturday, the men were transferred to HMAS Anzac, which had medical support onboard.

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AMSA executive director response Mark Morrow said all everyone involved in the rescue mission was relieved by the outcome of the operation.

"Yesterday, Japanese fishing vessel FUKUSEKI MARU 15 reached the Indonesian fishermen, whose boat was sinking, and was able to render assistance to those onboard," Mr Morrow said.

"Their quick response was instrumental to the success of this time-sensitive mission.

"HMAS Anzac was then able to arrive with medical and interpreter support for the rescued fishermen.

"The successful saving of 20 lives at sea is an incredible achievement of which all responding authorities should be proud. We appreciate the assistance of the Australian Defence Force and FV FUKUSEKI MARU 15 in this search and rescue mission."

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It is understood all the crew members tested negative for COVID-19 but will be returned to Denpasar in Bali.

One of the fishermen, a 33-year-old man, was due to be flown to hospital in Perth on Sunday night to undergo surgery on a badly injured hand.

In a statement, the ADF said HMAS Anzac had been a few hours off docking in Perth following a recent mission before it was redirected.

Defence Minister Peter Dutton thanked the families of HMAS Anzac's crew who had been waiting at the wharf for its arrival.

"I also want to acknowledge the patience and goodwill of the families of Anzac's crew, who are now waiting longer to see their loved ones following a long deployment," he said.

"We will have your sailors back with you as soon as possible."

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