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The Tristan Times - Tristan da Cunha
The online newspaper of Tristan da Cunha
  Issue No. 641 Online Edition Wednesday 10 February 2016 
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Tristan : Worlds Loneliest Island Saves life of Bulgarian Seamen
Submitted by Tristan Times (Sarah Glass) 02.06.2006 (Current Article)

The vessel M.V. Pirgos was on its way to Brazil from Africa, when seamen Nicolay fell 8m into a hole whilst working, he suffer a broken left leg, compound fracture. Broken jaw, blunt trauma to the abdomen, this had happen 3 days ago.

Photo (c) James Glass (Tristan Times) The Bulgarian Seaman being lifted to safety

Worlds Loneliest Island Saves life of Bulgarian Seamen

The Bulgarian Seaman being lifted to Safety

By Sarah Glass

Down in the South Atlantic on the edge of the roaring forties lays the Remotest Inhabited Island in the world " Tristan da Cunha".  Discovered in 1506 it is situated in the mid-South Atlantic, roughly 2000 mile from South America and 1519 miles west of Cape Town.  To many people Tristan is just a rock in the South Atlantic, but to those few in need of urgent medical care its paradise.

The vessel M.V. Pirgos was on its way to Brazil from Africa, when seamen Nicolay fell 8m into a hole whilst working, he suffer a broken left leg, compound fracture. Broken jaw, blunt trauma to the abdomen, this had happen 3 days ago.  Being on route to Brazil the nearest medical care was Tristan, radio contact was made and arrangements were made for him to be collect on the afternoon of May 25th.  The rescue rib "Atlantic Dawn" coxswain by by Joe Green, and crewed by Conrad Glass, Jack Green, Duncan Lavarello, Neil Swain and Mark Swain took the island Dr Joerg Jaschinski to the vessel, Conrad and himself boarded the vessel and after the doctor had stabilised the patient brought him ashore.  Many willing hands where ready at the harbour to help him into the ambulance.

Lucky for him the harbour conditions were reasonability good, as it had been unworkable for the past few weeks (strong easterly winds and heavy seas.  If weather conditions were bad the next port of call would only have been in four to six days time, and according to the doctor he was not certain if he would not have lasted that time with his injuries, as he had lost a lot of blood and had been vomiting.

Tristan has been the haven to many seamen in trouble, an Iranian had been landed after having a fall with a broken pelvis, another was landed after having a heart attack, and the saddest story involved a Greek seamen, who had an appendicitis on a vessel shortly after leaving South America on route to South Africa, the Captain did not turn the ship around but remain on course and asked the Tristan authorities for assistance.  For those who don't know the Tristanians, help is never rejected on this island, regardless of colour or creed.  Sadly his condition deteriorated by the time he reached Tristan and although he had three doctors on hand (usually there is only one permanently doctor on the island) he died on the operating table, and is buried in the islands cemetery.  Many yachts have also been assisted or crew rescued.

Having no airport the islanders (known as Tristanians) relies entirely on the service it can provide and receive from the sea.  Nine visits a year by fishing vessels, one by cargo vessel, and approximately four - six a year by cruise vessels.

The small harbour does little to shelter the waves of the roaring forties, but it is the gateway to the outside world for those Tristanians living there.  Which brings the Tristanians to ask the big question, Why is there not a safe, suitable harbour on Tristan instead of the big swimming pool, which is only workable in less than half its area, because of the depth, and allows the boats to get out, about 80 days a year.

There are plans to refurnish the Harbour next year, but the majority of the Tristanians feel that it still will not achieve what is essential, for the island to progress forward.
Money continues to be wasted, when boats operating in and out of the harbour during fishing or cargo operations, damage their hulls and propellers.

The islanders were hoping to have a new harbour built in the position that was first survey in 1964 (next to the Volcano), which entrance would lead into a natural pond. Not only would it be much bigger allowing tenders from Cruise Ships to enter, which is not possible in the present harbour (and increase the islands revenue over expenditure), but would also be much safer for Tristanians operating in bad weather, assisting foreign vessels in trouble.

The number of fishing days would increase, which is desperately needed with the lobster quota continue to rise, due to a recovery of the stock.  Economically the island would benefit hugely.

Progress of the seamen will be reported, the next vessel to depart Tristan will be a fishing boat around June the 20th.


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