Marine rescues – East Arnhem and Tiwi Islands

Northern Territory Police have completed two marine rescues within 24 hours.

On Tuesday evening at about 6:45pm, Water Police were advised of a distress call from a commercial fishing boat in Arnhem Bay. A woman on board had suffered a medical episode before the skipper loaded her into a tender and departed for Nhulunbuy. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority Response Centre (ARC) deployed the Challenger from Cairns and Water Police requested local Nhulunbuy Police respond with a St John Ambulance paramedic on board to intercept the tender around the Cape Wilberforce area.

Senior Constable First Class Wade Marshall said, “Although we couldn’t communicate with the tender it was fitted with a ‘Vessel Monitoring System’ so it was possible for us to track its route.”

Nhulunbuy Police reached them just after midnight where the paramedic was able to assess the patient before she was conveyed to Gove District Hospital for assessment and discharged later that morning.

In the second incident, at 11:40am yesterday Water Police responded to an EPIRB activation off the coast of Melville Island, 120km from Darwin. The ARC tasked a CareFlight helicopter and a commercial vessel in the area to attend the location and provide an assessment. On confirming the vessel had experienced a mechanical failure, Water Police towed the boat back to Darwin, arriving safely around 6:30pm.

Senior Sergeant Andrew Hocking said, “Anything can go wrong on the water, and it’s important to be prepared for the worst case scenario. Make sure you have an EPIRB and that it is correctly registered. Stay in communication if possible and help will come. These incidents show how many agencies and private vessels work together in responding to mariners in distress, and my thanks to everyone involved.”

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