Articles Tagged with “cruise ship rescue”

On June 26, the Norwegian Star cruise ship diverted its course to rescue six sailors aboard the Avenir, a yacht associated with the Newport Bermuda Yacht Race. In a distress signal sent to the U.S. Coast Guard at approximately 1:00 p.m., the vessel was still adrift, though the sailors reported irreparable damage to the rudder, resulting in an inability to steer the yacht. Click here to Read more about the distress signal.

The Norwegian Star, en route from New York City to Bermuda, was just 54 nautical miles from the distressed vessel in the Atlantic Ocean when the U.S. Coast Guard notified it of the emergency. Norwegian captain, Kenneth Harstrom, expeditiously diverted the ship’s course and safely transferred the three men and three women from the Avenir onto the Star. The yachtsmen departed Bermuda to deliver the Avenir to Bristol, Rhode Island two days before the rescue.

The Star wasn’t the only ship to effectuate a rescue during the 2012 Newport Yacht Race. Royal Caribbean’s Enchantment of the Seas brought Nathan C. Owen on board on June 18th when he began to suffer from dehydration. Reports of Owen’s condition were relayed to the primary physician for the race, who ultimately directed that he be evacuated from his yacht, the 46-foot sloop Seabiscuit. About 200 miles northwest of Bermuda, Enchantment of the Seas intercepted racer and brought him onboard where he was treated for his condition.

Fundamental U.S. Maritime law imposes a duty to rescue at sea. In Caminiti v. Tomlinson Fleet Corp., 1981 A.M.C. 201 (E.D. Ohio), two men went overboard from their vessel and two passing commercial ships didn’t stop, despite seeing the passengers struggling in the water. The men drowned and the shipping companies denied that a duty to rescue the men existed. The court disagreed, finding that “the law of the sea has always demanded a higher degree of care, vigilance and diligence,” and that the duty to rescue “strangers in peril” exists even if the ships were not the cause of the peril.

On February 24, 2012, a commercial fishing boat crewed by three young, Panamanian men was heading home to Rio Hato, Panama after a fishing excursion. The engine on the small vessel failed and was adrift without power for nearly 15 days before it was spotted by three passengers aboard the Star Princess. The cruise ship passengers allegedly spotted the distressed vessel through a pair of high-powered binoculars and immediately alerted the ship’s crewmembers that the fishermen were signaling for help, waving their arms and a red piece of cloth tied to a pole. Unfortunately, the Star Princess continued on its course and failed to effectuate a rescue.

The fishing boat was later discovered by the Ecuadorean Coast Guard on March 24th near the Galapagos Islands, with only one survivor onboard, 18-year-old Adrian Vasquez. Oropeces Betancourt, 24, died of dehydration on March 11 and Fernando Osorio, 16, died four days later from dehydration, sunburn and heat stroke.