MOL Carriers Rescue Students
Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. announced that its woodchip carriers Hokuetsu Delight and Crystal Pioneer searched for survivors of a training ship 550 km southeast of Rio de Janeiro in the South Atlantic, and rescued all 64 who had been aboard, including high school and university students from Canada and one student from Japan.
The 187 ft sailing ship Concordia reportedly capsized in strong winds about 8 p.m. on February 17 (early on February 18, Japan time). The following day, the Crystal Pioneer, under way from Amsterdam to San Lorenzo, Argentina, immediately rushed to the site of the incident upon request of Brazilian authorities.
Around the same time, the Hokuetsu Delight was steaming from Singapore toward Paranagua, Brazil, when it heard rescue-related radio messages from the Brazilian authorities. It headed to the area of the shipwreck and before dawn on February 19 (the afternoon on February 19, Japan time), spotted distress signal lights and three lifeboats with shipwreck survivors on board.
The Crystal Pioneer reached the scene later and found another lifeboat and more survivors. Remaining in close contact throughout the incident, the vessels confirmed that all 64 people who had been on board the Concordia were safe. The Hokuetsu Delight rescued 44 people, and then Crystal Pioneer rescued 20.
The vessels took the survivors to Rio de Janeiro, arriving on the afternoon of February 20.
Despite high winds, choppy seas, and limited predawn visibility, the two woodchip carriers searched for and located the shipwreck survivors. The task was all the more difficult considering that the huge wood chip carriers are easily affected by winds and difficult to manoeuvre. However, the highly skilled officers and crew members completed the rescue operations without any secondary injuries or damage.