The search is on for a 41-year-old Chinese crewman on an iron ore bulk carrier who went missing in waters off Western Australia’s Pilbara region after slipping off a ladder while clearing entangled fishing lines.
The mariner fell overboard from the Singapore-registered Cape Splendor on Monday afternoon while it was anchored at Port Hedland.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) said the man was on the bottom platform of the ship’s port accommodation ladder, about two meters above the water, when he lost his balance. He was doing some recreational fishing from a gangplank that was down the side of the ship.
Another crewmember threw a life ring into the water in a bid to help the man and raised the alarm. Unfortunately, by the time a rescue boat was lowered to recover the man, the crew had lost sight of him. Local police searched for him throughout the night, and were joined by additional vessels and a helicopter on Tuesday.
Water temperatures are reportedly favorable for survival, but big tidal surges in the 200 square kilometer search area were hampering operations.
The ATSB has sent two transport safety investigators to Port Hedland. The port's operations had not been disrupted by the search.
The Cape Splendor is 260,000 tonnes and was built this year.