Jascon 4: Ship’s cook survived for 2-days trapped underneath sinking tugboat

Jascon+4*As ten of his crewmates perished in Atlantic Ocean tragedy

– Okene Harrison was found sitting on a table in an air pocket
– Bodies of ten of the 12-strong crew have been found by rescue divers
– The remaining sailor is missing, presumed drowned and search called off

07 June 2013 – A cook has been rescued after a two-day ordeal trapped inside a capsized tugboat 100ft underwater in the Atlantic ocean.

Okene Harrison found an air pocket inside the upturned hull and sat on a table to help him survive the sinking of the 90ft Jascon-4 boat last week.

The bodies of ten of the twelve crewmen aboard have been retrieved by rescue divers. The final sailor is missing, presumed drowned.

A Belgian diver volunteered to stay with Mr Harrison, who then had to spend time in a decompression chamber before returning to the surface so he would not die from the bends, reports Shipwreckology.

Rescuer Paul Harrison, a dynamic positioning officer, wrote on the GCaptain Facebook page: ‘All on board could not believe how cool he was when being rescued.

‘The divers put a diving helmet and harness onto him and he followed the diver to the bell were he was then taken to deck level and kept in the chamber and decompressed for two days.

‘It was amazing to be part of this rescue and my sympathy is with the families who lost their loved ones.’

The 470-tonne boat was towing an oil tanker for oil giant Chevron when it went down 20 miles off the Escravos region of the Nigerian coast.

The rescue mission was called off on May 31 because weather conditions were too dangerous.

West African Ventures chief executive Jacques Roomans said: ‘The survivor has been brought to the surface safely and he continues to respond to treatment.

‘Our divers performed an extremely difficult and dangerous task in the most testing of conditions and we are grateful for their professional services as well as the contributions of many other personnel who helped in this challenging recovery operation.’

Jan Messchendorp, general manager of West African Ventures, said: ‘We are very grateful for the survival of Mr Harrison. We express our sincere gratitude to our divers for their outstanding performance and their inexhaustible efforts made so far.

‘Our thoughts continue to be with the families of the rest of the crew.’
*Helen Lawson, Mail Online

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