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SAVED:Stranded NZ Businessmen In High Spirits After Their Rescue

SAVED:Stranded NZ Businessmen In High Spirits After Their Rescue
Safe in Suva...From left: Sam McLean, Peter McLean (owner of the yacht), Geoff Marsland, Roger Young with NZ High Commissioner To Fiji Mark Ramsden on June 25, 2017. Photo: Roneel Karthik
June 26
10:50 2017

Four stranded New Zealand businessmen on board the yacht Jungle were in high spirits when they arrived in Suva yesterday after being rescued.

The four could be heard singing “thank you Fiji” as the RFNS Kula arrived at the Stanley Brown base in Walu Bay.

New Zealand High Commissioner to Fiji, Mark Ramsden welcomed the four when they were brought in by the RFNS Kula.

Mr Ramsden thanked the Republic of Fiji Military Forces and the Fiji Navy for such  great co-operation with the New Zealand counterparts.

The New Zealand-owned yacht had run aground on Tuvana-i-Ra reef near Ono-i-Lau, 425km from Suva early Friday morning.

Rescued are founder of Wellington’s Havana Coffee Works Geoff Marsland; Roger Young who owns the Havana Brothers, the Havana Bar and the famous Wellington Cafe Fidel’s, Peter McLean (owner of the yacht), owner of Captain Salty Fisheries and also a grape grower accompanied  by his son Sam McLean who owns National Candles.

Lieutenant-Commander Ledua Yaco confirmed that the four were helped by people who were living on the island of Tuvuna-i-Ra.

This rescue was a joint effort  of the Republic of Fiji Navy, the Republic of Fiji Military Forces and the Royal New Zealand Air Force.

“From the reef they had to swim to the island. Two people swam to the reef where they were and took the four crew members to the island,” Lietenant-Colone Yaco said.

Vessel owner Mr McLean said the main reason they ran aground was the outdated charts.

“If the charts were correct it would have never happened.The charts are outdated and they all need to be updated. It should have been done now and before in these modern times that we live in,” Mr Mclean said.

Due to high tide they had to navigate the reef which was not detected by the radar.

“The radar never picked up the reef and the plotter on the radar base said we were three miles off, but the two plotters were incorrect by three miles. We just hit the edge of the reef.”

Lieutenant Joseva Tunidau, commanding officer of RFNS Kula, said the rescue operation was well coordinated with Rescue Co-ordination Centre New Zealand  (RCCNZ) and also our Maritime.

“We were notified 5am on Friday morning. The New Zealand Air Force helped locate them on the island and gave us an update before we sent our Kula to rescue them. It took 17 hours to go the island to rescue them and 18 hours to get back,” he said

“This rescue is a great example of co-operation between the Fiji Navy, the RFMF and the Royal New Zealand Air force working with the P-3 Orion which confirmed the position of the yacht.

“The Fiji Navy then went and collected them.

“This is how this thing should work. We have really close co-operation between our two militaries and it is really nice to see that being put into practice. We are very glad that the crew of the SV Jungle are all ok. That’s a testimony to the two Defence force.”

A report from New Zealand’s Dominion Post said: “The boat is so badly damaged it will be left on the reef to be broken up by the ocean.”

Meanwhile RFN commander Captain (Navy) Humphrey Tawake said the operation was an expensive one as the deployment of 20 naval officers to Tuvana-I-Ra for the rescue of the four men had cost them $45,000.

Edited by Karalaini Waqanidrola

Feedback:  roneel.karthik@fijisun.com.fj

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