by John Curnow
At 1900hrs AEDT yesterday, an 11m ketch with three POB set off their EPIRB. This was registered to the vessel's former owner still. The craft had been sold in Melbourne within the last week and the crew were delivering it from Melbourne to Tasmania.
11m ketch abandoned in Bass Strait
Contact was made by the Victorian Air Ambulance who dropped a VHF handset to the vessel, but in the low light could not perform any winch extractions. AMSA's Dornier fixed wing aircraft from Essendon then took over sentry duties until the men could be alighted to the closest commercial ship. AMSA spokeswoman Lisa Martin said that ship arrived in Melbourne earlier this morning and one man in his 70's was taken to the Alfred for a cut on the leg.
The distress signal was transmitted when the vessel was approximately 53 nautical miles Sou'west of Wilsons Promontory in Eastern Victoria.
How the vessel came to be there when a heavy (40kn gust) Southerly change had gone through Melbourne yesterday around lunchtime is unclear, but rescue authorities say the reason given for the extraction was that they were 'not able to contend with the conditions'.
A Notice to Mariners has been published, as the vessel is abandoned, adrift and unlit.