Cruise ship in dramatic yacht rescue in mid-Atlantic

A cruise ship has come to the rescue of a yacht in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Fred Olsen’s Braemar, heading for Barbados, came across the 14-metre Nicollet, which had been drifting for almost three days with its steering broken.

The officer of the watch on Braemar‘s bridge spotted the crippled yacht – which had no sails hoisted – on the ship’s radar on Sunday morning and immediately contacted the crew by radio.

They confirmed their 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.

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. A rescue boat was lowered, with six crew aboard, to deliver a supply of wood, tools, and oars to the two crewmen who remained on the yacht. Two passengers were transferred to the 929-passenger ship.

By midday on Sunday, Braemar was back on track, sailing to Bridgetown, Barbados, to continue her 15-night ‘Canaries Christmas & Caribbean New Year’ cruise.

Captain Bamberg 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.‎”

The Nicollet was able to continue her voyage to Dominica. It is expected that the yacht’s two passengers will remain on board Braemar until Dominica, where they will rejoin the repaired yacht.

Braemar will arrive in Bridgetown, Barbados on New Year’s Eve.