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Ramu NiCo rescues 39 people after engine trouble puts them adrift at sea

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Thirty-nine people on board three motor-boats were rescued by the Ramu NiCo ferry mv Carrie after they had been drifting for hours in Astrolabe Bay bet-ween Saidor and Madang last Thursday.
According to the captain of mv Carrie, Charles Buai, they received a call from the National Maritime Safety Authority (NMSA) office in Madang at around 2.30pm that a dingy carrying 11 people was missing at sea in the direction of the mouth of the Gogol River.
He said they diverted the course of their vessel to conduct search along the south coastline from Bilbil towards Garim and spotted the three boats floating side by side with the passengers on board.
“We were surprised to see that there were three boats floating together with passengers on board,” Buai said.
“They indicated that they had engine problems when they tried to assist the first dingy and its passengers.”
He said the three boats had faced engine problems at around 10am and had floated for hours in the hot sun before being rescued at 3.30pm.
Buai said the passengers were lucky that the north-west wind was blowing land-bound and moved them towards Gogol.
“After we had rescued the three boats, the wind direction suddenly changed and blew south- westerly,” he said.
“Had that happened earlier, the three boats would have been pushed out by the wind and tide to towards the Vitiaz Strait and open sea.”
The crew of mv Carrie took the passengers of the three boats aboard the ferry and transported them to Madang, with the three boats in tow.
The three boats were from Mur and Galek villages in Raicoast and were transporting mustard to sell in Madang.

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