By Theckla Gunga – EMTV News, Port Moresby
10 people were rescued after drifting out at sea for at least 36 hours off the coast of Milne Bay province.
Captain Norman Lemeki, of MV Lousianne, his four crew members and five passengers, were saved after their emergency distress call was picked up by CS Fu Hai, a cable-laying vessel. Their boat was towed into Port Moresby’s Fairfax Habour by the CS Fu Hai at seven this morning.
The chances of being rescued at sea during rough weather are very slim, especially during the festive season when most shipping companies are winding down their operations.
For captain Lemeki and his team, they were travelling from Alotau to Port Moresby, when they encountered a mechanical fault which affected the boat’s engine. For a small boat, the size of MV Louisanne, it would take two days to reach Port Moresby. However, the team faced engine failure and were drifting away from Papua New Guinean waters when they sent out a distress call.
For Captain Lemeki, being recused alive was his only hope. On the other hand, the crew on board CS Fu Hai were sailing to Port Moresby after laying submarine cables from Port Moresby to Alotau. The distress call was located 5.5 nautical miles away from the CS Fu Hai’s location. Under Captain Luye Bo’s instructions, the crew rescued the passengers and crew on board MV Louisanne.
The news of the rescue was well received by families of the survivors who had not received any word from them over the 36 hours.
As for the CS Fu Hai crew, they were happy they had saved not one life, but 10, at a time when helping and sharing the human spirit, is celebrated.