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SA vessel on its way to pick up seafarers stuck on Gough Island

16 October 2020 - 10:11 By TimesLIVE
The Belize-registered 70m Geo Searcher sank after taking on water in stormy seas.
The Belize-registered 70m Geo Searcher sank after taking on water in stormy seas.
Image: MarineTraffic.com/Shared by South African Maritime Safety Authority

Almost 50 South Africans were among a crew of 62 seafarers who had a lucky escape after abandoning their vessel in the South Atlantic about 2,500km from Cape Town.

The crew was forced to abandon the ship in stormy seas after it started taking on water while passing close to Gough Island.

The vessel, the Belize-registered, 70m Geo Searcher, subsequently sank.

SA manages a research station on Gough Island, which is only 11km long with an area of 91km².

“The seafarers managed to climb into lifeboats and other on-board small craft before making their way from the northern point of the island around to the southern region close to the SA research station,” the South African Maritime Safety Authority (Samsa) said in a statement on Friday morning.

“They were assisted ashore and are all reported to be accounted for. It has been reported that one seafarer sustained some minor injuries.”

South African research vessel the SA Agulhas II has been dispatched to collect the seafarers, and is expected to reach Gough Island on Monday.

“The vessel is carrying two helicopters on-board which will greatly assist in the transfer of the stricken seafarers from the island to the vessel,” Samsa said.

“It is expected that the vessel will then make its return voyage arriving by possibly next week Friday or Saturday.”