14 January 2016
Four Indonesian fishermen were recovered from a makeshift life raft on 13 January, after eight days adrift in remote waters of the Timor Sea. The rescue of the fishermen was coordinated by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), with support from the Australian Border Force (ABF), the Australian Defence Force and an Australian fishing vessel.
All survivors have been medically assessed and are in good health. The fishermen will be repatriated to their home port of Kupang, Indonesia.
The raft was initially sighted by an ABF Dash 8 aircraft on the evening of Tuesday 12 January. Subsequently AMSA arranged for sequential ABF aircraft to provide “top cover”, remaining overhead while a request for assistance was made to a nearby Australian fishing vessel, AFV Exodus, to respond and reach the scene. Exodus recovered the four Indonesian fishermen in the early hours of 13 January. Further support was then provided with the arrival of a Royal Australian Navy vessel, HMAS Maitland.
AMSA Search and Rescue General Manager John Young expressed special thanks to the master and crew of AFV Exodus.
“The AFV Exodus crew ceased normal fishing operations immediately to provide support. The contributions of seafarers to search and rescue efforts like this one are in the best maritime tradition and vital in assisting AMSA to save lives at sea,” Mr Young said.
Australian Ambassador to Indonesia His Excellency Paul Grigson said, “This is a great example of your everyday Australian operation and the Governments of Australia and Indonesia working together. Cooperation in the maritime space between our countries is growing continuously.”
“We are grateful to the crew of the Australian fishing vessel, Exodus, for their great work in helping to save the lives of these Indonesian fishermen at sea,” Ambassador Grigson said.