HMAS Childers Recovers Survivors from Water

HMAS Childers Recovers Survivors from Water

HMAS Childers and the crew of Ardent Six (Lieutenant Commander Chris Brough) have been instrumental in recovering 77 survivors from wreckage 60 nautical miles north of Ashmore Island.

Responding to a request from the Rescue Coordination Centre Australia via Joint Task Force (JTF) 639, the Armidale Class Patrol Boat recovered all survivors from the broken up vessel in little more than an hour after arriving on scene on 13 March.

Commander Northern Command and Deputy Commander, JTF639, Air Commodore Ken Watson said it was a remarkable effort by the patrol boat crew.

“The speed and efficiency in which Childers and her crew operated was impressive to say the least and they should feel justifiably proud of their efforts,” he said.

“It’s indicative of the hard work and professionalism demonstrated by all patrol boat crews in the conduct of maritime border security operations.”

At approximately 3pm AEDT on Wednesday, 13 March 2013, a Customs and Border Protection Dash 8 aircraft was conducting routine air surveillance in the area when it sighted what appeared to be a broken up vessel with a number of people adrift in the vicinity.

The Rescue Coordination Centre Australia tasked HMAS Childers to provide assistance, and three aircraft and three merchant vessels were also diverted to the scene to assist.

A short time later, the crew of HMAS Childers reported to have recovered 77 people from the water.

An Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s Dornier aircraft continued to conduct an aerial search and confirmed no other people were in the water.

Following interviews with survivors, the crew of HMAS Childers were assured all persons had been recovered from the water.

Headquarters Northern Command is home to JTF639 and is responsible for coordinating the ADF contribution to Australia’s whole of government maritime border security operation, Operation RESOLUTE. HMAS Childers is home ported at patrol boat base HMAS Cairns.

Naval Today Staff, March 22, 2013; Image: Royal Australian Navy