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SA research vessel heads to Gough Island to rescue 62 seamen

Forty-seven South Africans are among those being rescued after the geo searcher hit a rock and started taking on water on Thursday.

The SA Agulhas II. Picture: South African National Antarctic Programme.

DURBAN - A South African research vessel, the SA Agulhas II, is making its way to Gough Island in the South Atlantic Ocean to rescue 62 seafarers who were working on a Belize-registered fishing vessel.

Forty-seven South Africans are among those being rescued after the geo searcher hit a rock and started taking on water on Thursday.

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (Samsa) said the affected seafarers were expected back in the country by next Saturday.

Samsa’s Vernon Keller said the seafarers abandoned the geo searcher once the vessel tilted at 45 degrees in bad sea conditions.

“The seafarers managed to climb into lifeboats and on other onboard small craft before making their way from the northern point of the island around to the southern region close to the South African research station.

Keller said fortunately no fatalities had been recorded.

“They were assisted ashore and all are reported to be accounted for. One seafarer sustained minor, non-threatening injuries.”

Keller said the SA Agulhas II was expected to take three days to reach the island if weather conditions allowed.

The rescue vessel is carrying two helicopters on board to transfer the seamen to the vessel.

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