The Carnarvon Volunteer Marine Rescue group (VMR) was called upon by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) to transfer a sick sailor from a submarine to hospital in the early hours of Monday 1 June.
The submarine was conducting a routine journey down the coast of Western Australia, returning to HMAS Stirling, when a sailor on board required medical attention. Although only a minor medical condition he needed to go ashore before the submarine could reach the Navy base at Garden Island.
The VMRS was deemed the most appropriate agency to transfer the sailor and Carnarvon was the port that afforded the easiest access for the submarine.
Carnarvon VMRS made contact when the submarine was located six nautical miles due west of the port and the sailor was able to step from the submarine to the 10 metre Naiad rescue boat, which docked up against the submarine.
President of the Carnarvon VMR John Nelson said it was a different kind of call out for the group as they are usually called on to assist with broken down boats and yachts that have run aground.
“It was nice to be able to do something for the Navy, they do a lot for us,” John said.
John said that they were informed 24 hours beforehand that their assistance might be required and that the transfer went smoothly.
The sailor was taken to hospital for treatment. All up the operation took around 40 minutes to complete and involved two crew members from Carnarvon VMR and an Australian Customs Officer.
A Defence spokesperson said it was a good example of engagement between the RAN and the Western Australian emergency services to provide a good outcome in an area that is remote to normal military support areas.
“The sailor was transferred from the submarine to shore in Carnarvon without further incident.”