Australian SAR Plane Airdrops Emergency Supplies to Freighter (Video)
Over the course of the past five days, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority arranged a medical intervention for an injured aboard a freighter in the Indian Ocean.
On Saturday evening, the Spliethoff tweendecker Dolfijngracht called for assistance while under way about 1,000 nauical miles off the coast of Western Australia. A crewmember had sustained serious burns in an accident on board, and he needed medical assistance.
AMSA's emergency response center in Canberra coordinated a response with other defense and civilian agencies to provide aid and keep the victim stable until the vessel could make port. AMSA dispatched a Challenger patrol aircraft out of Perth to air-drop medical supplies to the ship, and it set up a telemedicine assistance connection to assess the crewmember's condition.
“Our mission was to ensure the welfare of the injured crew member and to safely coordinate the medical evacuation. When a vessel is a long way from land AMSA uses all available assets to support its search and rescue missions," said AMSA response duty manager James Fryday. "We requested assistance from the Australian Defence Force which tasked the Royal Australian Navy with a planned ship-to-ship medical evacuation."
On Tuesday, a Royal Australian Navy medical team consisting of two doctors, one nurse and three additional personnel boarded the submarine intervention ship Besant, a special-purpose vessel operated by a private contractor on behalf of the RAN. They rendezvoused with the Dolfijngracht later that day, transferred on board and provided medical assistance to the seafarer while the freighter headed for port.
On Wednesday, the Dolfijngracht arrived in Fremantle, and the victim was delivered to shore for transfer to a hospital. The ship has since departed, bound for the port of Portland.