Dutch rower rescued after boat collides with tanker

Featured Oceania - June 3rd, 2013

A Dutch adventurer rowing from Australia to Africa was rescued from the Indian Ocean after his boat collided with a passing oil tanker, in a close-call that left him injured.

A Myanmar-flagged merchant vessel nearby was sent to recover Ralph Tuijn from the wreckage of his boat on Friday after he activated his distress beacon, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said.

Tuijn, 36, was well into his 9,000 kilometer (5,600 mile), 120-day journey from Western Australia when his boat was swamped by a massive oil tanker on Wednesday.

Tuijn reportedly noticed the tanker when it was only 300 meters away from his boat but it was too late to row out of the vessel’s path. The huge wakes made his 7-meter (22-feet) boat tumble before it was smashed against the side of the tanker and dragged him for a long time.

Tuijn is currently on board the merchant vessel but authorities said they were not sure of the full extent of his injuries yet, reports AFP.

Australian authorities said Tuijn was extremely lucky to have been rescued immediately from his remote location in the middle of the ocean, about 1,100 nautical miles west of the Cocos Islands.

Tuijn, an avid ocean rower, had previously rowed the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. He has dealt with a lot of dangers on the ocean, including lightning storms and close encounters with sharks, Tujin’s friend told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.