Star Princess Halts Alaska Sailing to Aid in Rescue of Drifting Sailboat

Lipcon, Marguiles, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A

The Star Princess cruise ship halted its Alaska sailing Monday to offer assistance to the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) as it worked to rescue two British Columbia men whose sailboat drifted off the Queen Charlotte Islands.

While rescuers initially believed the ship would break the wind and calm the waves, ultimately aiding in the rescue process, it actually made things worse for the victims at sea.
Sgt. Robin Richardson, a rescue diver with RCAF, recounted the experience to the Vancouver Province, explaining that the sailboat had been swaying from side to side due to a storm and was “moving wildly” in the waters.

The men had been sailing their 15-meter sailboat, the Magnolia, when a storm approached. The victims made a call for help around 8 p.m. Monday but were caught in swells of over four meters. They had been drifting at sea for 24 hours without power by the time help arrived.
Richardson risked his own life to aid the rescuers by diving into the choppy waters off Haida Gwaii not once, but twice.

The Star Princess was passing by at the time of the boating accident and moved closer to block the 80 km/h winds and calm the waters, but the turbulence caused the ship to rock back and forth itself, threatening the safety of the men on the sailboat and the rescue crew. Vessels at sea have a duty under International Law to aid vessels in distress. Princess Cruise Lines has in the past been accused of failing to aid stricken boaters at sea. The jury is still out on whether that occurred or not. However, in this case it is clear that Princess followed not only the law, but went the extra mile to help out for which they should be complimented.

“It drifted much too fast towards us,” added Richardson.

Richardson managed to hoist the men aboard a Cormorant helicopter to bring them to safety in Port Hardy. The boaters, identified as Glen Hampton and Doug Munroe, were ultimately rescued and transported to an area hospital, but the same cannot be said for the Magnolia, which remains adrift.

The Star Princess is a vessel in Princess Cruises’ fleet. Princess is a division of Carnival Corporation.

This particular boating accident resulted in a favorable ending for both the victims and the rescuers, but more often than not, accidents out at sea end in tragedy. Maritime accidents, including those that occur on boats or other personal watercrafts, can result in serious injuries that victims may never fully recover from or can even end in death. Many are the direct result of negligence, operating a vessel while under the influence or even, like in this accident’s case, hazardous weather conditions.

Regardless of the reasons behind each incident, it is important that victims and their loved ones realize that they are entitled to fight for their rights. Boating accident victims may even qualify to receive compensation for any injuries sustained or for the death of a family member, so if you or anyone you know has been involved in an accident involving a sail boat, jet ski or any other type of vessel, we are here to ensure you obtain justice for your pain and suffering.

With over 165 years of combined experience in litigating watercraft accident cases, our boating accident lawyers work diligently to secure the best possible outcome for your case. Call us today to see how we can help secure a positive verdict for your case.