16 February 2017: The crew of a fishing vessel were rescued by a cruise ship after drifting for three days in the Pacific Ocean without drinking water.
Six fishermen on board the 11.5 metre (38 ft) Losimani Fo’ou were left stranded with a flat battery 200 nautical miles off Tonga. When the boat began to be swamped in three metre (10 ft) swells, they set off their emergency beacon.
The Rescue Coordination Centre in New Zealand was alerted and the New Zealand Coast Radio Station transmitted the stricken vessel’s position to all ships within 200 miles of its recorded position, using the Inmarsat C SafetyNET II system. The distress alert was received by the German cruise ship MS Albatros, which had just set sail on a 60-day cruise from Sydney to Singapore.
The liner was diverted 330 km (186 miles) to pick up the fishermen and return to Auckland. Meanwhile a Royal New Zealand Air Force search and rescue aircraft dropped emergency equipment and supplies for the stranded crew.
John Dodd, Director of Safety Services for Inmarsat Maritime, said: “Successful search and rescue events such as this demonstrate the fundamental importance of Inmarsat C and the SafetyNET II system in saving lives at sea.”