An exhausted Dutch fisherman was saved in the North Sea by an optimal rescue effort.
Crew on board the Dutch beam trawler, the “Grietje Geertruida”, made a mayday call on the 9th of September when they lost their skipper in the middle of the North Sea.
The mayday call was picked up by the “Esvagt Connector” and the “Esvagt Preventer”, both of which lay on standby in the Danish sector. Both vessels were immediately released from their charter when the trawler called out the approximate position for the man overboard.
“There was quite a distance from the vessels to the reported position – over 10 sea miles – but as the crew of the trawler were uncertain of when their colleague had fallen into the water, both ESVAGT vessels decided to go into alert immediately,” says Steffen Rudbech Nielsen, Head of Ship Management, Operations:
”An action plan was made, search patterns decided and a man put on look out on monkey island. Fast Rescue Boats (FRB) were launched into the water to sail to the given position faster,” he says.
The Dutch fisherman was lucky. The position given by his fellow crew members turned out to be 3.7 nautical miles (approximately 7 kilometres, ed.) wrong.
”The officer on duty on the “Esvagt Connector” spotted the fisherman 200 metres away – which was no mean feat as he was dressed in dark clothes and was not wearing a life jacket. Even in daylight he was hard to see,” says Steffen Rudbech Nielsen.
The “Esvagt Connector” launched its second FRB into the water and soon had the fisherman on board – 55 minutes after the mayday call was made. The fisherman was cold and exhausted and was given first aid on board ship.
”He had been treading water for at least 55 minutes and did not have much strength left,” says Steffen Rudbech Nielsen.
Praise and gratitude
The fisherman told the crew that he had seen the first FRB sail past him during the search. The immediate intensification of the look-out on board the Esvagt Connector had been crucial.
“You cannot see very much from a FRB going full speed and a small face disappears easily in a big sea. Raise the plane of view slightly and the chances of spotting a person are better. It was good that the crew went into alert the moment the mayday call was received. If they had just set course and started the search when they came closer to the position the trawler had given, they may have sailed right past him. It showed real excellence that the officers in charge threw all resources into the operation from the very beginning,” says Steffen Rudbech Nielsen.
The fisherman was evacuated from the “Esvagt Connector” by the helicopter that had also been called in to assist in the search. He was assessed and found to be ok but was taken in for observation. The doctor on board the helicopter subsequently acknowledged ESVAGT’s work on our Facebook page:
“It was great to pick up a patient from such professional people. Everything went like clockwork and the patient had received the best possible treatment. Well found – and good job!”.
”We were pleased to read the message. We were also very touched when the fisherman’s two children wrote a post to thank us for saving their father. It really puts into perspective the reason that we go to work and train so much,” says Steffen Rudbech Nielsen.
ESVAGT is a dedicated provider of safety and support at sea, founded on an experienced and well-trained offshore crew and unmatched rescue capabilities.
We support the offshore Oil & Gas industries with a wide range of specialized services: Standby, Emergency Response and Resque Vessels (ERRV), Oil spill response, Firefighting, Tanker assists, Rig moves, Supply services and Interfield transfer of cargo and personnel.
In 2010, ESVAGT brought the dedicated offshore wind Service Operation Vessels (SOV) to the market. The SOVs provide accommodation for up to 40 technicians, storage for small turbine parts and a workshop, plus personnel and equipment transfer capabilities by either Walk-to-Work gangway system or Safe Transfer Boats.
ESVAGT was founded in 1981 and has a fleet of more than 40 vessels and more than 900 employees on- and offshore.