Fishermen spend 3 weeks adrift in stormy seas off Bougainville
Two fishermen from Solomon Islands have been rescued in Bougainville after spending three weeks adrift in stormy seas.
Two fishermen from Solomon Islands have been rescued in the autonomous Papua New Guinea province of Bougainville after spending three weeks adrift in stormy seas.
The provincial disaster coordinator, Franklin Lacey, says the men were rescued by locals near Fead Island on Saturday, where they are waiting for a supply ship to take them to the Bougainville mainland.
Mr Lacey told Jamie Tahana the pair would have endured incredibly rough seas in storm conditions, but despite their ordeal, a medical assessment has shown that they are OK.
FRANKLIN LACEY: These two fishermen were out fishing some three weeks ago and they experienced some engine problems. Their boat drifted for the next three weeks around the coast of Bougainville and Solomon Islands, that's the border region. It went past Bougainville mainland to our Abgarris region or Fead Island. That's where their boat went ashore four days ago. They are still on the island awaiting our flag carrier. We just discussed the delivery of supplies to the atoll. I've already asked the health officers on the island to do a medical check-up and that has been completed and the two fishermen are ok.
JAMIE TAHANA: Any idea how they survived for three weeks adrift at sea?
FL: I still have to get them here. When they arrive in Buka, I will quiz them on the situation and how they fared this past three weeks that they've been drifting on the sea.
JT: When they arrive back in Buka, what happens there? You want to interview them but to get them back to the Solomon Islands, what's the process with that?
FL: We simply hand them over to the Solomon Island authorities when they arrive. My task is to get them here to the mainland of Buka and then by motorcar I get them to Arawa and then hand them over to the Solomon Island authorities.
JT: What have conditions been like on the sea in Bougainville for the past three weeks?
FL: Very stormy. We are going through an El Nino period. Plenty of big winds and also we haven't allowed the small boats to go out to travel to the outer islands because of the strong wind warning. The situation is very bad here.
JT: So these men would have endured some very rough conditions?
FL: Yes. Very rough, some three to four metres every day, the level of the seas.
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