A 35-year-old male maritime pilot of the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) fell into the sea from a crude oil tanker near the N Shed Wharf in the port of Durban. A rope of the pilot ladder is said to have snapped for an undetermined reason when the man disembarked while leaving the crude oil tanker which was leaving the port of Durban.
Jonathan Kellerman, NSRI Durban station commander, said:
At 07h45, Tuesday, 28th April, NSRI Durban duty crew were activated by Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) following reports of a 35 year old male TNPA ships Pilot fallen into the sea off a crude oil tanker in the vicinity of N Shed Wharf in the Port of Durban. A securing rope on a rope ladder reportedly severed from undetermined causes while the man was disembarking from the crude oil tanker that was under sail departing the Port of Durban.
NSRI Durban duty crew responded to prepare to launch a sea rescue craft and Police Search and Rescue (S&R), Metro Police Search and Rescue (S&R) and Life Healthcare response paramedics were activated and responded.
In an effort to avoid injury to the man, the Pilot vessel Lufafa, veered away from the ship when the incident occurred allowing him space to push away from the ship and swim free from the ship’s draft in an effort to avoid being sucked into the ship’s propellors.
The Pilot vessel Lufafa went to his rescue and he was recovered and brought to T Jetty where they were met by Police S&R, Metro Police S&R and Life Healthcare paramedics.
He was treated for mild hypothermia and as a precaution, has been transported to hospital by ambulance in a stable condition for further medical evaluation and medical care and is expected to fully recover.
The immediate reaction of the skipper and crew of the Pilot vessel Lufafa and the calm and deliberate actions taken by the casualty after he fell into the water contributed to his survival and they are commended.
The incident will be investigated by authorities.
The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) is the charity that saves lives on South African waters. Our goal is to prevent drowning through rescue operations, education and prevention initiatives.
Operating from base stations along the SA coastline, and on inland dams, our rescue volunteers are on call, at all hours, every day of the year. Our rescue crew receive no payment and neither do we charge the people we rescue. We visit schools around the country teaching children about water safety. Drowning prevention measures include our online training academy, with free courses for crew and the public, emergency signage, Pink Rescue Buoys for emergency flotation, rescue swimmers, lifeguards and active patrols during peak seasons.
Our organisation is totally reliant on donations and sponsorships. This enables us to do the work of saving lives, changing lives and creating futures.