Rescued after three weeks on a leaky boat 
Russell Skelton and Adam Carey 
September 8, 2010 
Home and dry ... Benedict Jor is taken aboard the Wangaratta after his three 
week ordeal, above. 

LAST night fisherman Benedict Jor finally set foot on dry land again after a 
dramatic rescue at sea.

Mr Jor and the crew of the ANL Wangaratta berthed at Melbourne's docks,  where 
Mr Jor will spend the next two days before the container ship leaves for 
Sydney, where he will fly back home to his family in PNG.

Lost at sea, Benedict Jor survived on coconuts and rain water for three weeks 
before the crew of the giant container ship spotted his tiny fishing craft 
drifting in the Saint Andrew Strait off the Papua New Guinea coast.

The 20-year-old from the village of Noga near Rabaul had been fishing alone for 
tuna between two islands when a  change in wind and currents swept his boat out 
to sea.

Last night Mr Jor was adjusting to his new surrounds. "It's strange [here]. 
I've never been to a city like this because I've grown up in a village,'' he 
said from on board the ship, surrounded by the bright lights of Melbourne.

The young fisherman feared he would die at sea after several boats passed by 
without spotting him, despite his frantic waving. But a break in the rain and a 
burst of sunshine was enough for the crew of the Wangaratta to detect him. He 
had been sleeping under a blanket of banana leaves, huddling from the heavy 
rain, before the ship came into view.

His ordeal ended on Thursday when the Wangaratta, en route from China to 
Melbourne with a cargo of electrical goods, picked him up. He was about 50 
nautical miles from the coast when he was sighted by crew members from the deck 
of the Wangaratta.

"I'd like to the thank them for what they have done for me and I thank God for 
them. I'm very pleased they saved my life," he said.

Mr Jor's parents still have no idea of his fate and he has no phone number to 
reach them on. PNG officials hope Mr Jor could be united with his family by the 

Stephen Allaker, captain and master of the Wangaratta, said when Mr Jor was 
first spotted, there were fears he might not have been alone.

"We were initially concerned that we could only see a lone person, but he 
assured us he had been on his own throughout."

The rescue had been a tricky operation that involved turning the fully laden 
container ship about and then manoeuvring it to within 40 metres of Mr Jor's 
boat, which had capsized. A lifebuoy attached to a rope was tossed to the young 

"We then pulled him to the ship's ladder," Captain Allaker said.

He said Jor was immediately admitted to the ship's hospital where he was 
treated for hypothermia, dehydration and shock. ''He had a small cut on his 
left side that cleared up very quickly. Within 24hours, he had made a full 

Mr Jor said yesterday that he was feeling fine, but anxious to get home after 
his extraordinary adventure. A spokesman for ANL said Mr Jor had been lucky to 
have been in the shipping channel in the middle of the day rather than at night 
when the Wangaratta came across him.

The Wangaratta berthed at West Swanson dock in Melbourne Port late last night. 
Mr Jor will be kept on board until the ship returns to Sydney where he will 
pass through immigration and be met by PNG consular officials, who will  assist 
in his return home.

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