Star Cruises officers and crew are trained for any eventuality that may arise at sea, with various safety and emergency drills being regularly conducted onboard its fleet of ships. These efforts were recently put to the test when a Star Cruises ship, the Wasa Queen based in Hong Kong, was involved in the rescue of crew members of a sunken fishing boat. The rescue which occurred between midnight and the early hours of the morning began with a request by the Hong Kong Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (“MRCC”) for the Wasa Queen, which was in the vicinity of the sinking vessel to assist in the search for six crew members presumed missing.
The ship’s Man Overboard Team (“MOB”) was activated as the ship proceeded to the location of the sinking boat while bridge lookouts scanned the waters for signs of the vessel and survivors. The MOB team comprises a group of officers and crew who are specially trained to deal with situations of this nature. It is part of the safety policy that MOB drills are conducted regularly while at sea on all Star Cruises ships.
Upon reaching the area, bits of wreck debris and one crew member were sighted as the rescue boat was lowered and the MOB team began searching for survivors. Five other crew members including the Captain were subsequently rescued from the waters in the dark and taken onboard the Wasa Queen, where they were attended to by the ship’s doctor and medical team.
The Wasa Queen advised the MRCC that all six crew members had been rescued and were safely onboard till the ship returned to Hong Kong in the morning. This was the second such rescue involving Star Cruises ships over two months. The first involved the rescue of six crew members from a sinking small cargo vessel by the MOB team from SuperStar Virgo in the Straits of Malacca.
Bridge officers on the SuperStar Virgo, which was in the vicinity of the incident, received a request from the Vessel Traffic System
(“VTS”) in Port Klang to respond to the vessel in distress. A rescue operation was immediately initiated by the Captain and the ship’s MOB and security teams were activated as the ship proceeded to the location of the sinking vessel. All six members were rescued by the MOB team and brought onboard SuperStar Virgo to the ship’s clinic before being handed over to the Malaysian Marine Police.
“Both rescue incidents were conducted in accordance with the ships’ standard procedures to deal with this type of emergency and the actions of all involved reflected the high standards of training and professionalism by Star Cruises officers and crew in saving the lives of crew members of the ill-fated vessels,” said Fleet Captain Gustaf Gronberg, Vice President for Nautical, Star Cruises.