15 Mar 2017

Tuvalu rescue highlights importance of small boat safety

From , 4:03 pm on 15 March 2017

The importance of small boat safety in the region is being reiterated by the Pacific Community (SPC) after the successful rescue of two fishermen in Tuvalu.

The two Tuvaluans Semi Saaga and Foe Taalava had been trolling off of Fuafatu in Funafuti on the 28th of February when their lines got entangled and fouled their propellor.

After trying everything they could to get back underway and contact people onshore via radio the pair set off the personal locator beacon in their "grab bag" sending a signal to search and rescue authorities in New Zeland who informed Tuvaluan authorities who managed to pick the men up after 15 hours adrift.

Both fishermen praised the usefulness of the emergency equipment kit in the grab bags and recommended every fisherman have one with them on every fishing trip.

The director general of the Pacific Community, Colin Tukuitonga, spoke with Koroi Hawkins about the emergency "Grab Bag" initiative beginning with a description of the contents of each kit.

Grab bags ready to go on Tuvalu.

Grab bags ready to go on Tuvalu. Each bag contains a personal locator beacon, strobe light, compact medical kit, a signalling mirror and whistle, a rescue laser and sea rescue streamer, a marine handheld VHF radio, a sea anchor, three manual inflatable lifejackets, a directional compass and two emergency thermal blankets. Photo: Suppled/SPC