Turkish captain rescued three days after falling overboard

A Turkish bulk carrier captain has been rescued after three days in the ocean, after going overboard off the coast of north Bali.

Erhan Seckal, the captain of Zodiac Maritime’s Quorn, reportedly hung onto a ‘fish aggregating device’ — a type of floating object used to attract fish — to keep his head above the surface during the harrowing 66-hour ordeal.

Local news outlet the Bali Sun reports that Seckal went missing on 2 May in choppy waters, while the vessel — which has a crew of 22 — was en route to Vietnam from Australia.

Seckal told local reporters that he cannot recall how he came to fall overboard, but he remembers coming round in the water and searching for something to grab onto.

A search and rescue mission was mounted by Indonesian rescue teams and other ships in the area, while Seckal’s wife took to social media in Turkey pleading for assistance from the Turkish and Indonesian governments to restart the search, after they were deemed ‘inconclusive’.

Erhan Seckal was reportedly suffering nothing worse than sunburn and dehydration when rescued. Photo via Facebook

The Sun reports that local fisherman Gede Budiasa, who was out checking his own fish aggregating devices in the early hours of 5 May, spotted the captain ‘waving frantically’ in the distance.

Budiasa hauled Seckal aboard his boat and brought him ashore and to the local police station in Kubuaddan.

Despite the three-day ordeal, Seckal was reportedly only suffering from sunburn, dehydration and exhaustion, and was otherwise in good condition. He was treated in hospital and is expected to make a full recovery.

A traditional Indonesian outrigger in Bali

Seckal’s case is now being handled by the immigration team at Buleleng. It is likely he will be transferred home by the Turkish embassy.

In a statement, Turkey’s general directorate of Maritime Affairs says: “It was noticed that the captain of the Liberia-flagged ship Quorn, Erhan Seckal, was not on board at noon on 2 May while cruising approximately 30 miles north of Bali Island.

“While the search activities by the Indonesian RCC and the ship were inconclusive, it was learned that Seckal, who was found at sea, is in good condition. We wish our sailor a speedy recovery.”

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