21 Kenyan fishermen rescued from sinking boat off Kwale

Boats at Shimoni Port in Kwale County in March 2022. [Kelvin Karani, Standard]

Kenya Coast Guard Service (KCGS) rescued 21 fishermen from a sinking boat off within the country's territorial water of the Indian Ocean.

KCGS said that its offshore patrol vessel, Doria, conducted a successful search and rescue operation and saved the lives of the 12 fishermen on Wednesday.

KCGS said Kenyan-flagged fishing vessel, Seamar ll was taking in water some 40 nautical miles off the South Coast, Kwale County.

"On Wednesday, KCGS received information from the maritime Joint Operations Centre (JOC) on a ship in distress about 40 nautical miles off the coast of Mombasa. The Kenyan-flagged fishing vessel christened SEAMAR II, reported ingress of seawater into her engine room, posing a significant risk to the 21 crew on board in the unfortunate likelihood of sinking at sea," KCGS.

Head of Liaison and Public Affairs manager, Mr. Kenneth Sabila said in a statement to The Standard on Saturday. The official said that the move prompted the crew to send out a mayday call.

He added that Kenya Coast Guard Ship (KCGS) DORIA was tasked to conduct a search and rescue operation. The ship sailed to the area to render emergency assistance at 1427 hours. At 1630 hrs the boat was sighted and was then contacted via radio.

The Captain of the stricken fishing vessel reported that there was flooding in the engine room and was increasingly overwhelming the ship's submersible pump.

Shortly before the arrival of KCGS DORIA, the sister ship of SEAMAR II christened MISS JANE, which was in company with SEAMAR II during the fishing expedition, came alongside and managed to evacuate the 21 crew on board the distressed ship.

The Commanding Officer of KCGS DORIA, Lt. Commander Japheth Mayaka facilitated the transfer of the submersible pump onboard his Ship onto SEAMAR II to help manage the flooding.

"At 1820 hrs SEAMAR II reported to KCGS DORIA that the pump had helped to contain the flooding and as a result, the ship was able to sail to port," Coast Guard said.

SEAMAR II arrived safely at 2243hrs under escort by KCGS DORIA and is currently undergoing repairs at a private shipyard in Kilindini port.