Australian patrol boat Cape Inscription aids vessel on fire in Darwin Harbour

Royal Australian Navy’s Cape-class patrol boat ADV Cape Inscription rushed to the aid of a vessel on fire in Darwin Harbour.

According to the navy, the patrol boat was in the middle of a training exercise when crew members noticed black smoke pouring from a pleasure craft off East Point.

Executive officer Cape Inscription, Lieutenant William Jackman, praised the crew’s response as “rapid and professional”.

The flames spread so quickly the three men aboard the burning boat were forced to jump into crocodile-inhabited waters. Luckily, another pleasure craft was nearby and plucked them from the water.

“The crew in Cape Inscription recognised the vessel fire, promptly alerted harbour authorities, and then quickly launched a correctly prepared and outfitted team to render assistance as required,” Lieutenant Jackman said.

“However, despite our aid party arriving on the scene shortly after noticing the smoke, the vessel was completely engulfed in raging flames. There was simply nothing that could be done for her.”

Lieutenant Jackman said continuous training ensured Navy crews were ready to respond to any situation at sea.

Cape Inscription was conducting a training activity known as a work up when the emergency occurred. Work ups are designed to train a platform and her crew to meet a baseline level of knowledge and skills.

Achievement of unit or mission readiness demonstrates to Navy that the boat and crew meet those baseline elements and are capable of safely undertaking exercises and other peacetime tasks.

It is the second time in seven days that a Royal Australian Navy patrol boat has been involved in a maritime rescue, highlighting one of the important roles navy patrol boats play in Australian waters.

It was the second recent incident when Royal Australian Navy crewed Cape-class patrol boats have lent assistance to mariners in distress.

ADV Cape Fourcroy recently rescued nine Papua New Guinea fishermen adrift without food or fuel in the Torres Strait.