A MARSHALL Islands-flagged tanker helped rescue two men, aged 37 and 47 respectively, from the Torres Strait after their boat sank.

At about 7.15am AEST on Thursday, a coastal pilot on board the MT Godam (IMO 9297371) contacted Townsville Vessel Traffic Services to report seeing two people clinging to a timber plank in the water.

The sighting was about 10km southeast of Sue Islet, Warraber Reef.

Conditions were described as “rough” with swells of around two to three metres and winds of 30 knots.

Townsville VTS contacted the Australian Maritime Safety Authority who tasked its Challenger search and rescue jet from Cairns and a Queensland government rescue helicopter.

Both aircraft arrived about 9am Thursday, at which point in time the tanker’s crew had retrieved one person from the water.

The second person was rescued from the water by the rescue helicopter.

Footage courtesy of AMSA

The tanker maintained visual contact with both people during the rescue despite the poor weather.

Both survivors were transferred by the rescue helicopter to Thursday Island for medical treatment.

The cause of the boat sinking remains unclear.

“AMSA understands they were in the water since 4pm yesterday,” a spokesperson said.

“AMSA would like to thank everyone involved in this rapid, collaborative and effective search and rescue which upholds the spirit of the great maritime tradition of coming to the aid of those in need.”