ABF Assists In Rescue Of Torres Strait Fishermen

​Australian Border Force (ABF) officers have assisted in the rescue of two Australian fisherman adrift in the Torres Strait after their six-metre dinghy experienced engine problems.

About 1.20pm (AEST) on Sunday (26 May 2024), the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) received a distress signal six nautical miles west of Yam Island and requested support from vessels in the area.

ABF vessel Roebuck Bay, which was in the region on a regular patrol, immediately responded and commenced a search. Queensland Ambulance Service also deployed its Rescue 700 helicopter.

The stricken vessel and its occupants were located by authorities in two-metre seas about 3.30pm.

One man chose to be winched into the helicopter and taken to Yam Island by air.

The second man – a 66-year-old resident of Yam Island – chose to stay with the vessel. He was transferred to ABFC Roebuck Bay and returned home by sea with the disabled vessel in tow.

Both men were in good health and spirits.

Deputy Commander Maritime Border Command Neil Horne praised the crew of Roebuck Bay for their quick and professional actions during the rescue.

“The fishermen were very lucky and it was incredibly fortunate our ABF vessel happened to be in the area at the time,” Commander Horne said.

“It was a great effort from the crew, with all on board making a significant contribution to the rescue. We’re delighted to see the fisherman back with their loved ones, safe and sound.

“I would urge all people who are going out on the water to be aware of the conditions, and to ensure they have all the necessary safety equipment with them. It could be the difference between life and death.”

The ABF maintains a strong presence across the Torres Strait and works closely with other critical stakeholders to patrol the region.

ABF’s presence in the Torres Strait comprises maritime, land and air surveillance, including ships, fast response boats, helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft.

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