A BULK carrier helped rescue a solo sailor in the Great Australian Bight over the weekend as part of a rescue effort co-ordinated by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.

AMSA diverted two ships and arranged a medical evacuation for a solo sailor who issued an emergency beacon on Friday afternoon (7 July).

The sailor was on a 6.5-metre sailing vessel, registered in Queensland. He sent out an emergency signal in severe weather around 740 kilometres southeast of Esperance.

AMSA issued an emergency broadcast and diverted Panama-flagged bulk carriers Theodore JR and HSL Mexico to the sailor’s location.

The safety authority noted the ships’ masters would need to assess their ability to conduct a rescue in “extremely rough” weather conditions; AMSA reported winds of between 100-110 kilometres per hour and seas of up to nine metres.

AMSA also sent two Challenger rescue aircraft to the location. One aircraft arrived on scene on Friday evening and maintained communication with the sailor using a VHF radio, and both remained overhead during the night. A RAAF aircraft also assisted the search and rescue effort.

The diverted bulk carrier Theodore JR took the sailor on board at around 1630 on Saturday after several rescue attempts.

AMSA co-ordinated a medical evacuation for the sailor on Sunday once his conditions were assessed. At around 1100 on 9 July, helicopter Rescue 52 winched the sailor from Theodore JR.

The ship was around 70 kilometres southwest of Point Avoid, Eyre Peninsula at the time of the medevac. The helicopter transferred the sailor ashore for further medical assessment at the Royal Adelaide Hospital.

“AMSA would like to thank all involved for their invaluable assistance,” AMSA said in a statement.

“This rescue highlights the importance of being fully prepared every time you take your boat out. Be aware of the weather and forecast, and sea-state, tides and local marine hazards.”

Speaking to media on Sunday afternoon, the 22-year-old sailor Xavier Doerr also thanked those involved in the rescue, including the crew of Theodore JR.

Mr Doerr had reportedly been trying to circumnavigate Australia when is boat struck a submerged object.