Royal Caribbean Ship Saves Two Sailors

Tuesday, June 24, 2003
A Royal Caribbean International ship has made another dramatic rescue of sailors floating alongside their sinking vessels. One week after Radiance of the Seas saved three Canadian fishermen off the western coast of Canada, Nordic Empress conducted an emergency rescue in the Atlantic. Nordic Empress departed Hamilton, Bermuda, on Friday afternoon, June 20, for a return sailing to New York. At approximately 9 p.m., in 30-knot winds and nine-foot seas, the bridge officers saw two rescue flares shoot from the water into the sky ahead of them and to their port side. The ship immediately changed course and proceeded cautiously toward the source of the flares, not knowing who or what might be in the heavy seas. As the ship approached, additional flares were shot in the air and hand flares were detected. The ship’s personnel prepared for an emergency rescue. At approximately 9:30 p.m., using search lights, the ship was able to detect something in the water. Fifteen minutes later, they could see Everest Horizontal, a capsized 50-foot racing sailboat with two men clinging to its rudders. The ship’s captain, Yngvar Knutsen, carefully positioned Nordic Empress to block the wind and waves as the ship lowered a rescue boat. By 10:05 p.m., the two sailors were safely onboard Nordic Empress. The rescued sailors, Tim Kent and Rick McKenna, both of Elm Grove, Wisconsin, reported that their sailboat, en route from Bermuda to Newport, Rhode Island, suddenly lost its keel weight and quickly capsized. They were only able to grab a bag with flares as they escaped the sailboat and swam to its hull. After being rescued, the sailors were cared for by the ship’s medical staff for mild hypothermia and were taken to New York, where Nordic Empress concluded the cruise on Sunday morning. Radiance of the Seas made a similar rescue of three Canadian fishermen on June 13. Radiance of the Seas was sailing south toward Vancouver, when at approximately 5 a.m. it received an emergency radio call from the Canadian Coast Guard. Silver Bounty, an 80-foot fishing vessel, was sinking after having been overtaken by 40-knot winds and 12-foot seas. The fishing vessel was 15 miles ahead of Radiance of the Seas. Captain Kent Ringborn ordered the ship to full speed and reached the nearly submerged fishing vessel at 6 a.m. By that time, the three fishermen had spent approximately 90 minutes in the 50-degree water. If not for their rescue suits, they likely would not have survived much longer.

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