Rescues At Sea

Date 24/07/06
Location Hawaii
Summary 4 Rescued from Yacht Struck by Whale


Captain and C/O with rescued crew
Mureadrittas sinking after being hit by whale

On 25/07/06 the containership “Maersk Darwin” was in the vicinity of Hawaii, proceeding to Yokohama in Japan. At 19:42 GMT a distress alert and Mayday message were received from Honolulu RCC, stating that the sailing vessel “Mureadrittas” had been abandoned 97 nautical miles from the Maersk Darwin.
At 00:45 GMT on the 26/07/06 Honolulu RCC requested assistance from the Maersk Darwin and she started to proceed to the scene at full speed. Radio contact was established with the USCG rescue aircraft at 03:20 GMT.
Visual contact was made with the yacht at 04:42 GMT and as the Maersk Darwin started to slow down visual contact was made with the liferaft at 04:55, about 1.5 nautical miles from the yacht.
The wind was ENE 4 and at 05:20 GMT the Maersk Darwin had stopped and was drifting as the crew started to prepare the Starboard lifeboat / rescue boat for launching. At 05:29 the rescue boat was lowered and it then proceeded to the yacht.
The Maersk Darwin’s life boat is a Fassmer GMR 6.5 with duplex on-load release gear. The rescue boat crew started the lifeboat engine whilst still above the water and then used the on–load release as soon as they made contact with the water.
At 05:38 all four survivors were rescued from the now sinking yacht.
Re-connecting the lifeboat falls was more difficult than releasing but no problems were experienced and by 05:52 all survivors were onboard the Maersk Darwin. The USCG initially asked the vessel to turn round and deliver the yacht crew to Honolulu but it was the Master’s (and Owner’s) wish to carry the rescued yacht crew to the next port of call which would be Yokohama in 7 days time.
The US Coast Guard aircraft was informed about the success of the rescue and the yacht’s EPIRB was switched off. Honolulu RCC then gave instructions to the Maersk Darwin to proceed to the fishing boat ‘Kami M’ in order to disembark the survivors, and the Kami M would deliver them to Honolulu.
Rather than try to manoeuvre alongside the Kami M at sea the master decided to complete the transfer at sea using the rescue boat. Some changes were made to the rescue boat crew but the lowering, release delivery and recovery went as well as the first rescue.  
All survivors were in good condition and all were transferred to the fishing boat by 09:10 GMT. After the rescue boat was secured the Maersk Darwin resumed her passage to Yokohama.

A special mention to the Lifeboat crews on the two successful launchings and recoveries:
  • L. Mereuta
  • K. Petrov
  • K. Atanasov
  • K. Kirilov
  • G. Moris
  • V. Vorony
  • D. Manevski
  • Y. Rusanin
  • F. Grechany
  • M. Luhaniwal