Royal Solomon Islands Police Vessel (RSIPV) Gizo has transported nine survivors who are natives of Dawa Island, in Papua New Guinea (PNG), from South West of Rennel Island to Honiara after they were found drifting at sea and rescued by a Taiwanese fishing boat on 24 February 2022.
Director Police Maritime of the RSIPF Superintendent Nevol Soko says, “The RSIPV Gizo operation carried out after it request received from Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) Honiara that a Taiwanese fishing vessel Yi SIANG No: 8 found a ray-boat with a 40 horse powered engine with nine survivors on board.”
The survivors were located 130 miles South West of Rennel Province close to the border between PNG and Solomon Islands.
Soko says six of the survivors were males and three were females and they were so fortunate to be rescued after drifting for 29 days.
They were found and were kept on board the Taiwanese fishing vessel for two nights whilst waiting for the patrol boat to transport them to Honiara.
Commanding officer Patrol Boat Gizo Inspector Derick Naotoro said the sea was rough with high swells and his crews had encountered strong winds but with the help of the Taiwanese Captain of the fishing vessel, they offered to use their small floating-raft to transfer the survivors from the fishing vessel across to the patrol boat.
Naotoro said the nine survivors were checked by a medical doctor on board the Patrol Boat including a swab test for COVID-19 and all results were negative.
He adds further checks on their medical health conditions proved that all of them were healthy and strong despite a month in the open sea.
The survivors are currently in quarantine at Guadalcanal Beach Resort.