A crew of 62 seafarers, including 47 South Africans, were forced to abandon ship after their vessel struck underwater rocks near Gough Island in the South Atlantic, about 2500km from Cape Town.
The Belize-registered Geo Searcher ship sank after it struck underwater rocks and started taking on water on Thursday morning [October 15], the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) confirmed in a statement. All 62 crew members have been safely evacuated from the vessel and are now on Gough Island. One crew member sustained slight injuries.
“The seafarers had abandoned the vessel once the water ingress resulted in the vessel tilting (listing) 45 degrees in what was reported as unfavourable sea conditions. The seafarers managed to climb into lifeboats and other onboard small craft before making their way from the northern point of the island around to the southern region close to the SA research station,” they wrote.
“They were assisted ashore and are all reported to be accounted for. It has been reported that one seafarer sustained some minor injuries. They have all been accommodated at the research base and will remain there until the arrival of the SA AGULHAS II.”
The SA AGULHAS II is expected to take about 3 days to reach the island, if weather conditions allow. The vessel is carrying two helicopters onboard which will greatly assist in the transfer of the stricken seafarers from the island to the vessel. It is expected that the vessel will then make its return voyage arriving by possibly next week Friday or Saturday.