On Monday 17 September, AMSA’s Emergency Response Division General Manager Mr John Young, along with Mr Chris Barber of the Adelaide Office and Ms Jo Meehan of Strategic Relations, visited the captain and crew of the APL Bahrain in Adelaide to congratulate them on their commendable and professional efforts during the recent search and rescue operation in the Sunda Strait.
The APL Bahrain recovered 15 survivors following the loss of an asylum seeker vessel on 29 August off the southern Sunda Strait, including six people who were rescued in the dark. The APL Bahrain also acted as on scene coordinator for much of the operation, coordinating up to five merchant ships and aircraft over two days.
Captain Manuel Nistorescu explained the first group of survivors were found in the dark after the crew heard lifejacket whistles from the water. The Captain and his crew continued to search for the next 12 hours, recovering nine more survivors and transferring them to Indonesia for medical attention.
During the presentation of a plaque to Capt Nistorescu and his crew, John thanked them for their willingness to assist in the rescue and the preparations they had made that led to hearing the lifejacket whistles, their seamanship to execute the recovery of survivors in difficult conditions and their cooperation with, and coordination of, other operational ships and planes.
Mr Ted Muttiah, Managing Director of APL Australia - the APL Bahrain’s contracting company - also attended the presentation and expressed his support for the crew putting their safety of life at sea obligations ahead of their commercial interests.
The APL Bahrain has previously assisted AMSA with a search for a distress vessel in June, while its sister ship, the APL Riyadh was involved in a search and rescue operation in July.