ABC Australia Update
Australians rescued from stricken catamaran
Posted Sat Aug 1, 2009 5:11am AEST
Updated Sat Aug 1, 2009 5:20am AEST
Two Australian sailors taking part in a yacht race have been found safe after an international rescue was launched when they realised their catamaran was damaged, more than 800 kilometres off the coast of Darwin.
Late yesterday morning, the crew found a crack in the beams which hold together the two hulls and a Liberian-owned ship was sent to rescue them.
The catamaran, which was competing in a race from Darwin to Ambon in Indonesea, was on its return journey when its crew found the damage.
The men were instructed to keep moving for safety reasons, while a ship was sent to meet them.
Tracey Jiggins, spokesperson for the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), says the rescue was never going to be a quick one.
"Unfortunately when we first notified the merchant vessel, it was about 7.5 hours away from the location of Mai Tai," she said.
"But that was the closest vessel and the closest asset ourselves or Indonesia had to the missing vessel."
An AMSA spokesperson says the rescued crew is now being taken to China by the cargo ship that rescued them.
"The two men have been taken on board Gerasimos and they're now on their way to Long Kou in China, which was the destination of the vessel before it diverted," the spokesperson said.
Ms Jiggins says the rescue was a success.
"They notified I think race organisers, they then notified us, we notified the appropriate authorities in Indonesia," she said.
"We were then able to get in contact directly with the vessel itself, so that we could ascertain the exact nature of the distress that they were in, so it all went according to plan all the communication channels worked very well."
The catamaran was left at sea and it will be some time before the men return to Australia.