UK: Digital Selective Calling Alert Sends Rescue Services Straight to Scene of Sinking Vessel


Belfast Coastguard was able to send rescue services straight to the scene of a sinking leisure vessel last night although the crew couldnt make radio contact.

The digital selective calling (DSC) alert requesting immediate assistance was received at just after 8.15pm. Using AIS and DSC the vessel was located just off Runabay Head and identified as the Katoni. RNLI lifeboats from Redbay and Larne were sent to the scene whilst the police helicopter flew overhead. Ballycastle Coastguard Rescue Team were also sent to the scene to assist.

The area was thoroughly searched and no vessel was found. At just after 9.30pm a 999 call came in from one of the three crew to say although the vessel had been taking on water they had made it safely to shore.

Belfast Coastguard Watch Manager Alan Pritchard said;

The crew of this vessel was extremely well prepared. They were wearing lifejackets, had a DSC radio and knew how to use it. Because of this they were able to call for immediate assistance and although they couldnt actually talk to us we knew where they were and that they needed help. They also had the presence of mind to let us know that they had reached the shore safely so we were able to call off the search.
Source: , August 18, 2011;