The crew of the Armidale Class Patrol Boat HMAS Bundaberg went to the aid of a sinking fishing vessel, much to the relief of the vessels passengers.
Bundaberg was transiting from Cairns to Brisbane when her crew, Ardent Six, received a radio call from the Mooloolaba Volunteer Coast Guard requesting her assistance to rescue the crew of the distressed fishing vessel, 20 nautical miles off the coast of Mooloolaba.
Bundaberg immediately travelled to the coordinates of the fibreglass fishing vessel, which had a cracked hull and was taking on water. Ardent Six’s Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Christopher Brough, launched one of the patrol boat’s rigid hull inflatable boats (RHIB), sending three Navy personnel, a tool bag and a pump to the rescue.
Able Seaman Marine Technician Paul Garrett, Able Seaman Boatswains Mate Jonathan Beveridge and Able Seaman Joanne Russell pumped water out of the sinking vessel’s hull and waited with its crew until the Coast Guard arrived to tow the small boat ashore.
“One of the fishermen had never been offshore on a boat before, so needless to say he was very, very happy to see us. He was panicking pretty badly when we arrived, which was a huge relief for him,” said Able Seaman Garrett.
The fishing vessel and its crew were safely towed ashore, and HMAS Bundaberg continued on her way to Brisbane.
Naval Today Staff, April 22, 2013; Image: Royal Australian Navy