Rough night on the high seas keeps them busy

A 32-year-old is in a Newcastle hospital after an accident on a tugboat off Coffs Harbour.

The Queensland crewman suffered a broken nose, a broken cheekbone and a deep head cut aboard Wooree after it left Coffs Harbour on Saturday night.

The tug was towing a barge carrying the $9.5 million autoclave destined for BHP's nickel operations in Western Australia.

Crew radioed Coffs Harbour Coastal Patrol at 7pm when they were four nautical miles off the coast, saying the man had been injured in rough sea conditions and had to be evacuated.

The tug returned to the harbour, where water police ferried ambulance officers to the injured man. He was taken to shore and on to Coffs Harbour Health Campus, and later airlifted to John Hunter Hospital.

The tug and cargo set off again at 10pm.

The Maritime Authority and the Transport Depart- ment are investigating.

n A French-speaking couple hope to meet up with friends in Yamba soon after sparking a sea emergency off the Coffs Coast on Sunday morning.

A rescue helicopter found their stricken ketch, Adagio, 40 nautical miles east of Coffs Harbour after they sent a distress signal, which was picked up by Coffs Harbour Coastal Patrol.

Coffs Harbour water police escorted the pair, who were not harmed, and their 13-metre ketch to Coffs Harbour, which had been their intended destination after a voyage from New Caledonia.

Customs officers boarded the vessel, which had sustained storm and rigging damage, for routine checks once it arrived at port at 4.45pm.

n Coffs Harbour water police will soon take delivery of a new $1.8 million patrol boat which will replace their older vessel, Victor.

The state-of-the-art 16 metre offshore patrol vessel will be used for search and rescue operations and crime- fighting.

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