Pacific Dove crew saves trapped turtle entangled in fishing longline and floats 

“I’ve enjoyed diving with turtles on a few occasions and have always found them to be majestic creatures. My heart sank while holding onto this poor turtle for the Bosun to cut the lines as I could see that it had clearly been in this condition for a while as its flipper joints were raw from being entwined with the fishing line. Freeing this huge and beautiful reptile back to nature gives one a real sense of achievement and satisfaction and forged a deep sense of camaraderie amongst everyone on board.” 

- Chief Engineer, Stuart Cameron Soule

Chief Engineer, Stuart Cameron Soule has been a seafarer with SPO for more than a decade. The South African man is an avid nature and marine lover. During his voyage on board our vessel, the Pacific Dove, off Rio de Janeiro in 2016, the crew spotted a turtle that was entangled in a fishing longline with many floats entwined on its back. As a team, the crew of Pacific Dove embarked on a rescue mission to help the trapped turtle. 

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Pacific Dove's first sighting of the turtle that was entangled in the fishing net.

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Our seafarers to the rescue, gently lifting the massive turtle from the sea onto the rescue craft.

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Chief Engineer, Stuart Soule carefully cutting parts of the fishing net to free the turtle from the entanglement.

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(From Left) Chief Engineer,  Stuart Soule with the rest of his crew after the successful rescue mission.

“Together with Chief Officer, Fabilson Carvalho, Bosun, Sidnei Lima and Able seaman (AB) Frank Furtado, we mustered on the bridge to run through the plan of action with Master, Jon Even Olsen. We swiftly donned our Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and launched the Fast Rescue Craft (FRC) to make our way to the distressed turtle. 

Upon getting closer, we could see that the turtle was visibly exhausted as it was completely entangled in the thick fishing line which made it extremely difficult for the turtle to swim,” recalled Stuart.  It took a lot of effort and strength for the crew to get hold of the massive turtle and keep it alongside the FRC in order to carefully cut off the line of floats and hooks that were tightly wrapped around its body.  

Throughout the process, we were mindful not to injure the turtle and that its safety was not compromised. After about five minutes of gently disentangling and cutting the line, we finally managed to relieve the turtle from the last of the fishing line and it swam away, freed from lines, hooks and floats.  

“We watched on as the turtle effortlessly glided away and propelled itself down, something I’m sure it has been unable to do for a while. We celebrated our successful mission and cheered with high fives all round and returned to our ship, safe and sound, and full of smiles for a job well done and a good deed achieved”.