Thu. Aug 18th, 2022

NSW Port Authority chief executive captain Philip Holliday has provided an update on the ongoing cargo ship rescue effort after 21 people were left stranded off the coast of Sydney on Monday as a result of wild weather.

A three-person crew of a tugboat saved the state from disaster yesterday after the ship – carrying hundreds of tons of fuel oil – lost its engine in a storm and drifted powerlessly towards the cliffs of the Royal National Park.

The tugboat kept the Portland Bay ship off the rocks for four hours before reinforcements arrived in the form of two other tugboats.

A rescue helicopter attempts to reach crew on the Portland Bay cargo ship stranded off the Royal National Park.

A rescue helicopter attempts to reach crew on the Portland Bay cargo ship stranded off the Royal National Park.Credit:Twitter

Holliday said the ship is now anchored just south of Port Botany in a “relatively sheltered position” after a line to one of the tugboats parted on Monday night.

Holliday said crews took the “fallback position” of anchoring the ship at Port Botany as a result and are now waiting for the weather to subside before continuing with the rescue operation.

Another specialized tugboat is also due to arrive around lunchtime today with Holliday warning the efforts may continue for many days.

“We are waiting for the weather to ease. If we can get the weather gods to shine on us a little bit more brightly, then we will take that window of opportunity and bring the ship into Port Botany, ”he said.

“It is extremely challenging. This could go on for several days. ”

Holliday said there have been no reported injuries from crew members on either the ship or tugboats.

“Everyone is safe and well. A bit of fatigue is there, so they are getting what rest they can when they can, but everything is as stable as it can be at the moment, ”he said.

An attempt to rescue the 21-member crew by helicopter was aborted yesterday due to the wild weather.

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