One Missing, One Injured After Fight Aboard Tanker in the Coral Sea

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Published Nov 3, 2022 3:24 PM by The Maritime Executive

One crewmember is missing and another injured after a fight between two crewmembers aboard a chemical tanker off New Caledonia this week, according to French SAR officials. 

On Tuesday, the chemical tanker Elandra Corallo was operating on the high seas about 400 miles northwest of Koumac, in the Coral Sea. In circumstances which have not been released, two crewmembers got into a fight on board, and one was stabbed. The crewmember who used the knife "threw himself into the sea" after the altercation. 

At 1730 hours, the Noumea Marine Rescue Coordination Center (MRCC) was notified of the incident, and the center's watchstanders called for assistance from nearby merchant vessels to aid in a man-overboard search. Four ships responded and conducted a search pattern until 2315 hours, when the effort was called off. 

On board the Elandra Corallo, the crew worked with the MRCC to evaluate the condition of the injured crewmember. They decided on a medevac once within range of a SAR helicopter. At 1450 hours on Wednesday, at a position about 100 nm off Grande Terre, a Puma search and rescue helicopter aircrew hoisted the injured survivor aboard in a "delicate" operation. They transferred him safely to Koné for treatment, arriving at about 1600 hours. 

The tanker continued on her commercial journey, bound for New Zealand. 

Elandra Corallo is a 50,000 dwt chemical tanker built in 2008. She is managed by a firm in Singapore and flagged in Liberia, and she has no recently-recorded port state control deficiencies. 

"Excellent collaboration and professionalism of all the partners of MRCC and in particular the PUMA helicopter of FANC, the Maritime Medical Consultation Centre (CCMM) based in Toulouse and SAMU 988 that allowed the evacuation of the injured person," said MRCC Noumea in a statement. "It should also be noted the excellent collaboration of the four merchant ships that helped to search for the missing crew member."