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Port City Dredger rescues drowning deep sea fishermen

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Colombo Port City dredger Xin Hai Feng, rescued two local fishermen last Monday. The fishermen were found floating on a barrel in the outer break water area, and a timely rescue mission was mounted by Port City officials.

The two fishermen aged 64 and 57, had gone deep sea fishing in a rented boat on the 14th of July and had run into trouble when the engine failed and the boat struck a reef. They had abandoned the damaged boat and begun to swim with the aid of an empty diesel keg, helplessly floating in the rough sea for over 3 hours.

The captain of the Xin Hai Feng, which was approaching the reclamation area through its regular sailing path, had spotted the near to drowning fishermen and requested his crew to change course, bringing the dredger to a halt. He then informed the Deputy Manager of the Shanghai Dredging Company (SDC), Wang Zhen Ning, and the Health, Safety and Environmental (HSC) Manager of China Harbour Engineering Company, who together made immediate arrangements to launch a rescue mission.

The Port City team took measures to provide first aid and medical attention to the fishermen who had been in a weakened state after going without food and water in the rough seas for over 48 hours. Since the wave height was approx. 1.5 - 2 meters at the time of the rescue operation, they had to use a heavier barge rather than a light weight speed boat to launch the rescue. The harbour police was also informed of the incident.

The fishermen were rescued at 13:59 hours and Sunil Anthony (64) was dispatched to the National Hospital in an ambulance, accompanied by the HSE manager of CHEC and transferred to the Emergency Treatment unit. Ranjith Igneshes (57) followed in a second ambulance and was accompanied by the Safety Officer of Fourth Harbour Engineering Company (FHEC), Kasun Geenath. The families of the fishermen were informed of the situation by the Port City team.

According to a report on the incident filed by W. H. Kosala Perera, HSE Manager of CHEC, the two fishermen who were from the Hendala Wattala area had said that they had asked other fishermen for help when their boat hit trouble but they had not been afforded any, and had to fend for themselves.

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