Sarah Jane Smith, NSRI St Francis Bay station commander, said:
At 10h42, Saturday, 08 June, NSRI St Francis Bay were placed on alert following reports of a Buttcat fishing boat taking part in a Tuna Classic fishing competition and overdue and not responding to communications efforts being made to contact them after the competition was called off due to unfavourable seas, with 4 crew onboard.
It was suspected that they had not received the cancellation of the tournament message but continued efforts to raise the boat by communications caused concerns.
All indications were that they were simply continuing to fish unaware that the competition had been called off but as a precaution and to take full advantage of the daylight hours remaining and considering that the fate of the outstanding boat was unknown NSRI St Francis Bay launched our sea rescue craft Spirit of St Francis II and NSRI Oyster Bay, NSRI Jeffreys Bay and NSRI Port Elizabeth activated.
2 fishing trawlers, Rigel and Elke M, assisted in a search and a private aircraft was volunteered by a local flying club and private donors in St Francis Bay volunteered funds to fuel the aircraft to join in the search.
Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) Port Elizabeth coordinated the search operation in cooperation with NSRI St Francis Bay.
Later the wife of the skipper called NSRI confirming that her husband onboard the boat had reacted to whatsapp messages he had been sent and they were returning home without incident.
The aircraft that was about to get airborne was cancelled and NSRI commend the 2 fishing trawlers, Telkom Maritime Radio Services, the Tuna Classic organisers, the private aircraft owner and all who assisted.
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