Mike Patterson, NSRI Richards Bay deputy station commander, said; “At 19h10, Friday, 10th July, NSRI Richards Bay duty crew were placed on high alert by the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) while Richards Bay NSRI, TNPA, MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre) and Telkom Maritime Radio Services monitor the progress of the 30 foot Wild Cat Catamaran WASABI, sailing from Mozambique to Richards Bay, with 5 crew onboard, a skipper, the owner, his wife and their two children and limping along damaged.
“The yacht had suffered damage during a storm off-shore of Ponta Do Oro, Mozambique. They had anchored to repair the damage and with the make-shift repairs appearing to hold their Catamaran together they were now limping towards Richards Bay but satisfied that at this early stage they were making good headway on reduced sails, in an attempt to limit any further damage, and while not declaring an emergency NSRI Richards Bay are on full alert to respond to assist if the situation deteriorates during the night.
“All going well NSRI Richards Bay will most likely launch our sea rescue craft on Saturday morning to rendezvous with them, depending how far they progress and any changes to the situation during the night, and then decide from there the best course of action further (although the decision to launch will depend on their progress).
“MRCC and Telkom Maritime Radio Services will keep an hourly watch contact with the yacht through the night by VHF radio and by cellphone.
“Currently heading with the weather at about 5 knots they have chosen to rather attempt the 130 nautical mile run towards Richards Bay rather than turn around and head into the weather, with possibly greater risk of further damage, the 30 nautical miles voyage back to Maputo.
“A weather predicted 30 knot Easterly winds approaching the area that they are sailing into is being watched closely but for now they have fair weather and fair seas and spirits are high onboard and the skipper and crew are confident.
“At around 21h00 they were approximately 2.6 nautical miles off-shore of Dogs Leg which is about 30 nautical miles South of Ponto Do Oro.”