Fifteen people rescued overnight from banana boat

Friday 2 May 2014
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s (AMSA) Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC Australia) has assisted the Port Moresby Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC Port Moresby) in the rescue of 15 people from their banana boat overnight in the Bougainville group of islands.
Media Release

The vessel with 15 people on board had departed Nissan Island for Buka Island on Friday, 25 April and was reported overdue to local authorities the following day.

On Saturday, 26 April, MRCC Port Moresby requested RCC Australia to issue a broadcast to shipping and undertake drift planning.

On Tuesday, 29 April, MRCC Port Moresby requested RCC Australia to further assist with the search for the vessel by providing air support. RCC Australia tasked a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) P3 Orion aircraft from Perth to reposition to Port Moresby and then complete an aerial search for the overdue vessel.

The RAAF P3 Orion aircraft located the missing vessel at 3.40pm AEST yesterday, about 120km north east of Nissan Island. The aircraft dropped emergency supplies such as water, food rations, communications equipment and two liferafts, and RCC Australia issued a broadcast to shipping.

The 15 people were rescued by a vessel dispatched by MRCC Port Moresby about 11pm AEST last night and transported to Feeder Island. All persons are reported to be safe and well.

It is believed the vessel had broken down en route to Buka Island and drifted with ocean currents.