Search for missing Resplendent crew member continues

Crew recuperating after ordeal

19 February 2020 | Disasters

The Ohlthaver & List (O&L) Group of companies confirmed that the fishing vessel Fisher Bank docked at 06:30 this morning (19 February 2020) with all the crew on-board, except the captain of the Resplendent, Carlo Gordon.

The fishing vessel Resplendent belonging to Hangana Seafood sunk in the deep sea after it experienced trouble at around 13:00 on Tuesday and started taking in water.

O&L Group spokesperson Roux-ché Locke said that a search and rescue mission - which currently consists of seven vessels in the search area, were deployed this morning to continue the search for the missing captain.

“The 24-hour procedural search will continue until 15:00 today. The Hangana team under leadership of our MD Herman Theron has met with the Gordon family and will continue to provide them with the necessary support. A full investigation has been launched.”

Resplendent sank yesterday in the deep sea while fishing for hake with details of what actually transpired slowly emerging.

An official at Hangana confirmed that the rescued crew members who are all in a state of shock, received onsite counselling and were taken to Welwitschia hospital where further check-ups were conducted.

The 26 recued crew members were issued with dry clothes on their return this morning and referred to hospital for medical attention to determine their well-being.

Three crew members were subsequently admitted for further observation due to injuries suffered in the incident at sea.

Family members also arrived in numbers at the hospital to support the survivors emotionally.

Eyewitness accounts obtained indicate that the Resplendent went down very quickly.

“We were busy up trolling (taking the net from the water) when the vessel started taking in water at an alarming rate at its stern (back of the vessel). We tried pumping out the water by deploying emergency pumps but were not successful. The alarm was raised. We grabbed safety jackets and rushed to the deck to deploy the life rafts,” recounted a visibly shocked survivor.

According to crew members they managed to deploy two of the life rafts successfully. The other two life rafts surfaced and popped open as the Resplendent sunk to its watery grave.

“The crew members were scattered in the water. Those who made it to the emergency boats pulled others out of the water into the safety of the boats. It happened very fast. The ship was filling up with water at a rapid pace and sunk within less than 5 minutes. It tilted sideways and then started sinking.”

According to some of the survivors the fact that fine weather prevailed when the vessel started sinking played in their favour.

“If the sea was stormy things could have been very different for us. We were also very lucky that there were other boats fishing in the area.”

Family members of the survivors were visibly relieved that their loved ones had made it to safety and returned to land.

“Concerned family members and friends started calling from 14:15 wanting to know what had happened. It’s not a nice feeling having to wonder and wait for news on your loved ones. Only when the factory informed me that the crew was safe, I became calm,” commented a family member.

Officials from the Department of Maritime Affairs were also present when the rescued crew members arrived and will obtain statements from them about the incident on Thursday (tomorrow).

Chief public relations officer of the ministry of works and transport Julius Ngweda said in a media statement issued yesterday that the Resplendent sank at the fishing grounds in the Namibian Exclusive Economic Zone.

“The vessel had 27 Namibian crew members on board of whom 26 were rescued. Sadly, one crew member believed to be the skipper, is unaccounted for.”

Ngweda said that the circumstances surrounding the incident were not clear. He added that a safety certificate for Resplendent was issued on 30 October 2019 which is valid until 23 October 2020.

“The ministry will commission a full investigation to assess and review the circumstances surrounding this unfortunate incident in accordance with the Merchant Shipping Act. The ministry through the Maritime Rescue Centre also issued navigational warnings to vessels in the vicinity to keep clear of the area and to report any sightings of the missing crewman.”

Initial reports received indicate that the Resplendent experienced trouble at around 13:00 on Tuesday and began taking in water.

The Begonia, Victory and Fisher Bank fishing in the area, rushed to the assistance of the crew.

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