A chartered vessel en-route to Yara Pilbara to load ammonia saved an injured rower in wild seas, 3200 kilometers from Western Australia.
A global company, Yara continuously has a fleet of 16-18 chartered LPG vessels (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) sailing the oceans at all times. The company’s global scale is based on the ability to move ammonia for fertilizer production between locations, production sites and markets, as well as on behalf of Yara’s joint venture partners.
Crossing the Indian Ocean
Behind all these operations, Ammonia Trade & Shipping, a business unit within the company’s Supply & Trade segment, commercially operates the chartered LPG fleet. Operating out of Geneva, Switzerland, ensuring that the chartered vessels are sent where they are needed across the world is truly international activity.
When sailing the oceans, you are bound to get both rough weather and smooth seas. However, what happened in the Indian Ocean this summer was a rare occasion of misfortune and luck at the same time, surprising both the crew onboard, and Yara’s ongoing ammonia operations.
Dr. Shane Usher, a chemical engineer, was one of four men in a 14-meter boat trying to raise AUD 250,000 for Multiple Sclerosis Australia by being the first to row across the Indian Ocean to Africa unassisted. Usher had been injured with festering burns, and the Nordic River, a 180-meter ammonia tanker on its way to Yara Pilbara, was attempting to rescue him in stormy conditions.
The operation turned highly dramatic, with the smaller craft nearly drifting into the Nordic River's massive propellers before a bold approach with a lifeboat managed to get close enough for Usher to jump in.
"I felt so guilty seeing the pain and exhaustion on their faces when they hoisted me over the side of the ship," Usher told The West Australian, a regional newspaper upon returning to safer shores, "but they all just started cheering. It was quite special."
Working closely with the staff
"In this case, as soon as the vessel was diverted to initiate the rescue I immediately got informed by the Master and the K-Line Superintendent in Japan," explains Yara Pilbara Shipping Manager Leo Rego.
"Yara takes its relationship with the owners of its chartered vessels and the personnel on board very seriously," he adds. "The Nordic River is on a long term charter from K-Line to Yara Switzerland and has been employed by Yara since 2007 and our relationship with them, the personnel on board and K-Line staff in Japan is excellent."
"Having met the staff on board on their arrival, it was clear to see that they had undertaken a great job," Leo continues. "It is no easy task trying to rescue a person from a rowing boat in huge seas and swell. K-Line do provide very professional training to their staff on board and this was put to effective use - it is indeed very creditable that none of the rescue team sustained any injury in the process."
"I thank the crew of the Nordic River for their efforts," Usher told Yara. "I was well looked after in their well-equipped medical room over the eight days it took to travel to Dampier, Western Australia."