Wooli fishing vessel safe after engine failure at sea

A COMMERCIAL fishing vessel is safe in the Yamba harbour after a harrowing evening at sea.

The two occupants of the 7.5 metre aluminium boat from Wooli came into trouble on yesterday afternoon when the boat's engine failed, possibly due to a transmission problem.

Marine Rescue Iluka Yamba located the fishing boat at 5.30pm, about 24m south east of Yamba and 15 nautical miles east of Sandon River.

It had drifted three nautical miles from its original position by the time it was found by rescue vessel Iluka Yamba 30, and was towed into Yamba about three and a half hours later.

Marine Rescue NSW Regional Controller Northern Rivers Stephen Reading said poor weather and sea conditions made for a lengthy rescue operation.

Winds from the northeast were blowing at 20 knots, and swells of up to two metres meant the boat could only reach a speed of nine knots.

"Although the disabled boat is from Wooli, it (was) taken to Yamba which was a safer option in conditions and tide at the Wooli bar," Mr Reading said.

The two occupants of the vessel are safe and well, and the boat is expected be towed to Woolgoolga in coming days.

Mr Reading added that a new Marine Rescue repeater installed on Clarence Peak earlier this year had improved VHF communications in the Sandon region significantly, and made the recovery operation easier.



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