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On Wednesday, 25th of March 2020, at 21:32hrs, RCC Malta received a mayday call from Motor Tanker Lady Sandra. The Master informed that whilst in ballast, the tanker had suffered extensive damage which resulted in it taking in water and sinking. The Armed Forces of Malta immediately deployed the MELITA 1 Search and Rescue Vessel and AW139 Helicopter to the location, which was 13NM East-Northeast from Malta. 


Once MELITA 1 arrived on location, the three crew members of the tanker (two Egyptians and one Romanian national) were found in the water. The crew in question had to abandon ship, and their life raft ruptured. They were immediately transferred on the AFM vessel and brought safely to Hay Wharf Base, Malta. Medical assistance was not required, and the Immigration Unit from the Malta Police Force were called in for further assistance. 


The Master of MELITA 1, stated that, “it was a different rescue than others. We risked our lives, as there was a very big swell and strong winds. As we approached the life raft, we quickly transferred them on board our vessel. We thank God that everyone is safe."


The duty Search and Rescue Mission Coordinator stated that, “it was the result of coordination between the AFM's Rescue Coordination Centre, the AFM assets, and also other ships in the area which rendered assistance that made this mission, in such severe and inclement weather conditions, a success."


The AFM Headquarters would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank all members of the Force for the dedication, commitment, and loyal service they provide to their country, particularly in such adverse situations with inherent high risks.