Australian Navy assists two civilians in distress

In less than four hours, two civilian vessels in trouble received prompt assistance from Navy ships.

Both the multi-role aviation training vessel MV Sycamore and the Huon-class minehunter HMAS Yarra were in the area of Jervis Bay at the time of the two incidents.

On March 9, around 9 am, Sycamore was engaged in training exercises when the crew got a call from Marine Rescue Jervis Bay requesting help.

The skipper of the capsized ship was in the water, wearing a life jacket and clinging to the hull. Sycamore’s crash boat, already in the water, promptly responded by searching an area near Honeymoon Bay.

The Sycamore team assisted in retrieving the captain’s personal belongings and floating debris before the skipper was carried aboard Marine Rescue Jervis Bay boat JB20. To a nearby boat ramp, the skipper and his vessel were taken.

Later that day, when Yarra was performing sea testing not far away, Marine Rescue Jervis Bay intercepted a radio call for assistance from a civilian vessel.

Two persons were on board a five-meter pleasure vessel when it ran aground close to Murray’s Beach, according to Commanding Officer Yarra Lieutenant Commander Rodney Weeks.

“We launched Yarra’s smaller diving boat, which was able to approach closer to shore after the initial vessel on the scene was unable to assist due to its size,” he said.

To help in any way they could, Combat System Operator Mine Warfare Sailors Jacob Andrews and Shannon Foskett, along with Seaman Clearance Diver Finn Bentley, boarded the dive boat.

Seaman Bentley dove into the water when he arrived on the scene and headed for the sinking ship.

“After evaluation, he could drag the boat safely out of the reef and into deeper water. It couldn’t stay on the water because the hull had no protrusions.

Seaman Bentley manoeuvred the boat into a location where he connected a Marine Rescue towing line before swimming out to Captain Kevin Hill of Marine Rescue because the outboard motor wouldn’t start.

The Yarra crew resumed sea trials once the ship was safely turned over under tow.

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