On 27th December 2015, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines' ship Braemar came to the aid of a sailing yacht marooned in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, with the dramatic rescue of the 14-metre Nicollet and her four Polish passengers and crew, who had been adrift for nearly three days.
929-guest Braemar was cruising from Santa Cruz, Tenerife to Bridgetown, Barbados, at a speed of 16.2 Knots, when the Officer of the Watch spotted the drifting sailing yacht Nicollet on the radar, positioned in the Atlantic Ocean, 10 Nautical Miles from the cruise ship.
Braemar's Officer of the Watch contacted the Nicollet to make sure that everything was in order, since the yacht was drifting and no sails were hoisted. The yacht confirmed that the steering gear was broken and the sea anchor had been deployed. The yacht had been drifting for 2.5 days and was en route from Las Palmas to Dominica. The Nicollet was carrying two passengers, one male and one female, and two male crew members, all of Polish nationality.
The Braemar's Master, Captain Robert Bamberg, contacted the Nicollet and asked what assistance was required. The Skipper of the sailing yacht requested that the cruise ship take the two passengers on board and supply some material for the necessary repairs to the Nicollet, which the two crew members would carry out.
Captain Bamberg informed Braemar's guests that the ship would be involved in a rescue operation, and he manoeuvred the ship into position, ready to lower the rescue tender boat. Tender boat number 10 was then launched, with six crew members aboard.
Fred. Olsen's tender boat number 10 delivered a supply of wood, a hacksaw, two wooden oars and a box of water to the two crew members remaining aboard the stricken Nicollet – although the sailing yacht was equipped with enough food and water to last up to three weeks – and the two passengers were transferred to the tender boat and taken to Braemar. Following a full security inspection and medical check, it was confirmed that the two passengers were Polish nationals and in good health.
At midday on 27th December 2015, Braemar was back on track, sailing to Bridgetown, Barbados, to continue her 15-night 'Canaries Christmas & Caribbean New Year' cruise.
Speaking of the rescue operation, Captain Robert Bamberg, Master of Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines' Braemar, said:
"The sea conditions at the scene were very challenging, with three to five metres of swell, so in order to be able to carry out a rescue operation in such circumstances, everyone must know exactly what to do.
"Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines is proud to have a very robust safety culture and procedures in place across its fleet, and my Officers and crew showed true professionalism and knowledge while carrying out this rescue operation. We regularly conduct safety drills and practices, but it was great to see such team work, spirit and determination implemented so successfully in a real-life situation."
Following her rescue by Fred. Olsen's Braemar and subsequent repairs, the Nicollet was able to continue her voyage to Dominica.
It is expected that the two passengers from the Nicollet will remain on board Braemar until Dominica, where they will rejoin the repaired yacht.
Braemar will arrive in Bridgetown, Barbados on 31st December 2015, where she will stay overnight, to see in the New Year in true Caribbean style. She will then continue to Dominica, St. Kitts, Tortola, Antigua and St. Lucia, before arriving back in Barbados on 7th January 2016.
For further information on Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, visit the website at www.fredolsencruises.com
Fred. Olsen Cruise Line operates in the UK with four intimately sized ships for a more personal cruising experience.