As cruising continues to grow in popularity, we’re seeing more and more cruise ships joining the millions of commercial shipping vessels, fishing trawlers, passenger ferries and private yachts sailing the ocean waves. It’s inevitable that with all this sea traffic, some vessels are going to run into trouble and its often smaller vessels such as trawlers and yachts which end up in need of help when the seas get rough. Owing to their large size and fixed itineraries you’d perhaps imagine that cruise ships would make unlikely rescuers, but it’s the code of the sea to offer assistance in an emergency no matter what type of vessel you are. Nevertheless, you’d perhaps be surprised by how many successful rescues have been performed by cruise ships and their crews. Here’s a look at just some.
Orion Expedition Cruises
The luxury expedition ship Orion came to the rescue of a French sailor Alain Delord, who had been cast adrift in a life raft for three days off the Coast of Tasmania after his yacht’s mast was broken by bad weather. The January 20, 2013 rescue marked the end of Delord’s single-handed attempt to sail around the world and the Orion came to his rescue after he had managed to alert the Australian Maritime Safety Authority to his predicament, who sent out an emergency request.
The MS Volendam made a memorable Alaskan rescue when it came to the aid of sightseeing vessel the Baranof Wind in August, 2012. The vessel had run aground in Glacier Bay, in Alaska’s Inside Passage, after hitting a rock. None of those aboard were seriously injured though and all were rescued after the MS Volendam lowered a tender to pick them up and take them back to the ship.
On 19 July, 2012, the Star Princess helped to rescue two sailors who had lost a rudder off the coast of British Columbia, by acting as a windbreak from the powerful winds assailing the stricken pair in the South Hecate Strait. The seas were considered too rough for the ship to launch a rescue tender vessel, so the sailors were rescued by helicopter while the ship sheltered both the sailors and the Canadian Coast Guard from fierce 50-mile-an hour winds.
Norwegian Cruise Lines
On June 26, 2012, The Line’s Norwegian Star rescued passengers of the yacht Avenir, which had become stranded 230 miles from Bermuda after receiving a damaged rudder. The US Coast Guard had picked up the vessel’s distress signal and relayed it to the Norwegian Star, which diverted course to come to the aid of the yacht’s passengers.
On June 18, 2012, The line’s Enchantment of the Seas vessel came to the rescue of sailor Nathan C Owen, who had become dehydrated on-board his yacht Seabiscuit, during his participation in the Newport Bermuda Race. The Enchantment of the Seas was departing Bermuda on route for Boston when it received the distress signal.
The luxury line’s Crystal Serenity came to the aid of two men who were taking part in a transatlantic rowing challenge on 14 December, 2011, after their boat was capsized by a huge wave 480 miles southwest of the Canaries. Tom Sauer and Tom Fancett were changing places in the boat when the wave struck, completely sinking their boat. Crystal Serenity came to the rescue after changing course to reach the pair.
On July 18, 2011, The Carnival Magic responded to a mayday call from the Jean Michele, a motor yacht which had lost power and become stranded on the Mediterranean Sea . The Carnival Magic had left Barcelona and was bound for Sicily when it picked up a distress call sent out by the boat’s skipper. The 130,000 ton vessel used its bow thrusters to manoeuvre closer to the yacht and protect it from the wind.
By Simon Brotherton