43 crew rescued from blazing New Zealand trawler

All 43 crew from the stricken New Zealand fishing trawler Amaltal Columbia arrived safely on shore Wednesday telling of a "scary" ordeal as a fire swept through their ship.

The crew were forced to take to liferafts in a four-metre (13-foot) swell after the captain gave the order to abandon ship when hours of trying to contain the early morning blaze proved fruitless.

Seven hours later they were back in New Zealand after being plucked from their liferafts by a Russian trawler Ivan Golubets.

"We're just in shock. I don't really know what to say. I'm just really glad everybody is fine," crew member Louise Kissana told reporters.

"It was scary, you imagine climbing down the side of your ship in the middle of nowhere in rough weather."

Kissana, among the first 39 crew members to arrive at the South Island port of Lyttleton near the city of Christchurch, said it was a relief to see the Ivan Golubets come to their rescue.

"It was one time we were quite thankful to see the Russians coming."

Another crewman, who did not wish to be identified, said they were unable to get the fire under control, no matter how hard they tried.

"We started out fighting the fire with hoses and that sort of stuff and then a few hours into it we had to get into the liferafts," he said.

The Amaltal Columbia was more than 70 kilometres (44 miles) from Christchurch when the fire broke out early Wednesday.

The captain, Chris Patrick, sent out an "urgency call" at 5:24 am which was later upgraded to a "Mayday" as the fire, which started in the stern of the vessel, spread quickly.

Patrick and three other crewmen remained on the Amaltal Columbia as long as they could before transferring to another trawler which had steamed to the rescue.

Peter Talley, the head of the company that owns the Amaltal Columbia, described his flagship as a "fireball from the bow to the stern" at the height of the blaze.

New Zealand search and rescue coordinator Tracy Brickles said the safe transfer of all crew from the burning vessel was an excellent result.

"The priority in these situations is always the safety of the crew. This is a good result in difficult conditions with winds of 30 knots and a swell of four metres."

Talley told Fairfax News the fire was "an absolute disaster, but everyone's OK, there's no panic there at all".

The Amaltal Columbia has lost all power and steering and the company said it would be towed to Christchurch.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Sandigan OKs hospital stay for GMA co-accused
    Sandigan OKs hospital stay for GMA co-accused

    The Sandiganbayan has allowed a government official, accused with plunder along with former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to undergo a medical procedure at a hospital tomorrow. The anti-graft court permitted former Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) board member Benigno Aguas to undergo a cardiopulmonary/endocrine clearance at the St. Luke’s Medical Center in Quezon City. …

  • Sandigan recommends executive clemency for ex-envoy
    Sandigan recommends executive clemency for ex-envoy

    The Sandiganbayan has recommended executive clemency for a former Philippine ambassador to Nigeria who was sentenced to 52 years for malversation of public funds. The Sandiganbayan First Division found Masaranga Umpa guilty of misusing the Assistance-To-Nationals Stand-by Funds totaling $80,478.80 in 2007, but the anti-graft court said the former assemblyman from Lanao del Norte should be pardoned. …

  • Stargazing at the mall highlights Earth Hour
    Stargazing at the mall highlights Earth Hour

    It was a night of stargazing in 58 SM Supermalls all over the country last night as these establishments participated in Earth Hour, an annual worldwide movement encouraging communities and establishments to switch off lights for one hour to raise global awareness of overuse of non-renewable resources. The Philippines has been an active participant of Earth Hour since 2008. Last night, in the province of Bulacan, for instance, all parishes, diocesan institutions, schools and household …

  • Payanig privatization hit
    Payanig privatization hit

    BLEMP Commercial of the Philippines, Inc. (BLEMP) denounced the recent announcement of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) to privatize the 18.4-hectare “Payanig sa Pasig” property. In a statement sent to The STAR, BLEMP lawyer Dennis Manalo said the PCGG has no right to auction the property because it has no valid title and is not in possession. The PCGG has not paid a single centavo in real property taxes for the property, he said. He narrated that it was in the early 70s …

  • New species of tarantula found
    New species of tarantula found

    Scientists from the Museum of Natural History (MNH) of the University of the Philippines-Los Baños have discovered a new species of cave-dwelling tarantula on an island off the coast of Quezon. The new species of the spider, Phlogiellus kwebaburdeos, was described in the recent issue of the Philippine Journal of Systematic Biology by MNH curators for spiders Aimee Lynn Dupo and Alberto Barrion along with their former student Joseph Rasalan. The tarantula was discovered by Rasalan during one …

  • Palm Sunday: Do not add to suffering of others
    Palm Sunday: Do not add to suffering of others

    As Christendom enters Holy Week today, Palm Sunday, an official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) yesterday called on the faithful not to add to the sufferings of their fellowmen. Jerome Secillano, executive secretary of the CBCP-Episcopal Commission on Public Affairs (ECPA), said that while Palm Sunday is oftentimes remembered as the glorious arrival of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem, it also signals the start of the Holy Week that tells of His suffering, death and …

  • Miriam pushes tougher graft law
    Miriam pushes tougher graft law

    Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago has filed a bill that would make public officials liable for violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act even if they are elected to a fresh term or a new position. In filing Senate Bill 2716, Santiago sought to address what she said was the doctrine of condonation in Philippine jurisprudence brought about by the 2010 case of Salumbides vs. Ombudsman. “By merely asserting the doctrine of condonation, erring elective officials are automatically given a …

  • Phl hits back at China over sea infra work
    Phl hits back at China over sea infra work

    The Philippines assailed China yesterday for contesting Manila’s planned repair and maintenance works on some islands in the West Philippine Sea, saying they are “in no way comparable” to the Asian power’s massive reclamation activities which are in violation of international laws. “The Philippines’ possible undertaking of necessary maintenance and repairs on its existing facilities in the West Philippine Sea, over which the Philippines rightfully exercises sovereignty, sovereign rights and …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options