HMAS Success and her Boarding Team came to the rescue of a local cargo dhow in the Middle East on 10 February after responding to a distress call and finding the vessel taking on water.
Technical experts amongst the Boarding Party determined that sea water was flooding into the dhow’s bilge, but they couldn’t get to the source of the leak.
The vessel sent the distress call around 1600 local time. The Success Boarding Team had visited the vessel the previous day and was more than willing to help its fellow seafarers.
Success’ Clearance Divers carried out emergency repairs to the dhow’s hull below the waterline.
Able Seaman Clearance Diver (ABCD) Daniel Lavermicocca jumped into the water as daylight faded and the swell pitched the vessel.
“With the shadow cast by the dhow’s hull as the vessel rolled in the swell of at least 3-4 metres, it took two dives to locate the source of the leak,” ABCD Lavermicocca said.
Success’ divers undertook repairs in challenging environmental conditions, and plugged and sealed the hole.
Boarding Officer Sub-Lieutenant Tom Matthews was glad of the technical challenge. “This was a great opportunity both to assist local mariners and for valuable interaction with local crews while our technicians and divers were repairing the damage,” he said.
Language interpreter Able Seaman Electrical Technician Bilawal Chandio who liaised with the vessel’s owner over HF radio said “all were grateful”.
The company owner passed his blessings to Success’ crew and thanked them repeatedly for the assistance that ensured the continuing safety of his employees.
While conducting operations under Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), the ships and their helicopters are busy searching, identifying, approaching and boarding suspicious vessels. CMF vessels regularly find themselves assisting mariners in distress and providing assistance in these extremely busy waterways.