On Saturday 14 July 2012, RAMSI Participating Police Force personnel in coordination with the Solomon Islands Marine Rescue Coordination Centre successfully rescued two Dutch sailors stranded at sea near Rennell Island.
The sailors became stranded after their sailing vessel Freedom developed a hole on its starboard side while sailing on the eastern side of Middle Reef in the Indispensible Reefs. The vessel had been sailing from Port Vila in Vanuatu and was making its way to Papua New Guinea.
The sailors activated their distress radio beacon, which was received by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority. The Authority subsequently contacted RAMSI Participating Police Force and the Solomon Islands Marine Rescue Coordination Center late on Friday 13 July. RAMSI Participating Police Force personnel responded and using the RAMSI helicopter flew to the last known location of the vessel. At around 4am on Saturday 14 July, RAMSI personnel successfully made contact with the sailors, and a short time later conducted a rescue operation. The two sailors were winched to the helicopter and brought to Honiara where they were treated by the National Referral Hospital for minor injuries.
Acting Participating Police Commander Noel Scobell said “the success of the rescue came down to the fluid coordination between the Marine Rescue Coordination Center and RAMSI as well as the ongoing training of RAMSI’s Participating Police Force personnel to conduct such high risk rescues. Scenario training using the RAMSI helicopter and winches is vital to ensuring these sorts of lifesaving operations can continue.”