Cape Town - A Filipino sailor is missing at sea after falling overboard, while two of his fellow crew members were badly injured when their ship was hit by rough seas near Port Alfred.
The two men sustained back, wrist and knee injuries. They were treated about 24 hours later, when they were finally rescued by the National Sea Rescue Institute.
The drama began about 11pm on Sunday when a crew member of the 245m oil tanker Alpine Amalia, sailing from Singapore to Angola, fell overboard after the vessel got into difficulty in rough weather conditions off the coast of Port Alfred.
His fellow crewman spent the night searching for the man who had been swept overboard. They had also alerted the Transnet National Ports Authority.
“It appears that in sea swells a crewman, a 47-year-old Filipino, was washed overboard and an additional two crewmen were injured,” NSRI East London station commander Geoff McGregor said.
He said after searching for hours in vain the crew then alerted the NSRI in East London and the Eastern Cape Emergency Services.
They had planned to sail towards East London, but had not reached shore by early on Tuesday, prompting the NSRI to launch a search party at 6pm that evening.
“We located the ship 5 nautical miles off the coast of East London, in 24 knot Westerly winds and a 3.5m swell, McGregor said.
“Paramedics and rescue crew were transferred aboard the ship where they treated the chief officer for a serious back injury and an able seaman for a dislocated wrist, a dislocated shoulder and a knee injury.
“Both men are from the Philippines.”
The injured men were treated by paramedics and secured into basket stretchers before being transferred to hospital.
The chief officer was in a serious condition but was stable as was the able seaman, McGregor said.
The rescue was completed about 10pm on Monday.
The police were investigating the incident.
NSRI spokesman Craig Lambinon said the missing man had not been found by late on Tuesday.
Philippines Consul General in Pretoria Chad Jacinto confirmed that three Filipinos were involved in the incident.