Boating Accidents, Cruise Ship Law, Maritime Matter of the Week

Expedition Cruise Ship Rushes To Save French Yachtsman Adrift At Sea


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Although there are times in which cruise ship operators are to blame for maritime accidents, there are other times in which they can prevent them. The crew of the MV Orion expedition ship has lent their assistance to rescuing a solo French yachtsman who was stranded in the Southern Ocean.

“We got him!” said expedition leader Don McIntyre after rescuing the victim, Alain Delord, from the waters.

McIntyre described the rescue in a post on Facebook, explaining how water flooded the lower decks of the ship when the crew opened the side gate to get to Delord. He also noted that once they got the Frenchman, when they grabbed him from the sea to take him to the medical quarters, the quarters also became flooded.

Luckily, Delord did not sustain any serious injuries and the Orion’s crewmembers have made plans to arrange for him to be moved to a guest cabin.

Delord had been at sea since last October trying to sail around the world by himself. His yacht, Tchouk Tchouk Nougat, sustained damage during rough weather off the coast of Tasmania on Friday. After spending three days adrift on a life raft, the 63-year-old was rescued by the cruise ship roughly 500 nautical miles southwest of Hobart on Sunday night.

The vessel was diverted about 1800km to offer aid to Delord, and also experienced unfavorable weather conditions while attempting to reach him. The Orion’s captain, Mike Taylor, said that at first, the vessel’s 100 passengers were “massively disappointed” because the ship had to change course, ruining their once-in-a-lifetime trip to Macquarie Island. However, once the victim was rescued, passengers didn’t seem too upset.

“…There was a cheer you could hear right over the ship when we pulled him in through the door,” said Captain Taylor.

Captain Taylor added that the Orion was around 680 miles south of Delord when he was contacted by the Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC) in Canberra.

“(The RCC) and called us and said we’re Johnny on the spot pretty much,” he said. “It took us a full 53 hours to get from where we were to him.”

He further explained that the waters were extremely rough when reaching Delord, and that without the help of the RCC, the Orion would never have found him.

The rescue mission took about 25 minutes to complete. The Orion sent a zodiac (inflatable boat) out to Delord to help him and returned to the side gate of the vessel, where crewmembers were able to attach a line to him and pull him into the ship.

The captain described Delord’s condition, saying: “He’s obviously very weak, very tired … Basically after a full check out in the hospital the doctor was very surprised at how good a condition he was in.”

However, Delord is expected to make a full recovery. No word on whether he will continue his voyage around the world.

Photo Credit: Facebook

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