Norwegian Cruise Lines’ Norwegian Gem changed course the morning of Oct. 29 to rescue five people on a sailboat in the North Atlantic.
The 2,400-passenger ship, on its return to New York from Bermuda, responded to a call from the U.S. Coast Guard, which had received a distress notification from Sanctuary, a 39-foot sailboat.
Large waves were breaking over the bow, and the boat had lost power and its life raft. It also was taking on water.
Sanctuary was located approximately 350 nautical miles from New York in the Atlantic, two hours away from Norwegian Gem, the closest vessel in the area.
Norwegian Gem Capt. Hakan Svedung diverted course to rescue the four men and one woman.
Upon reaching the Sanctuary, the Norwegian Gem encountered extreme weather conditions, with wind up to 40 knots and large swells, making it challenging to launch the ship’s rescue boat, said Noregian.
But the rescue staff was able to transfer the five occupants, all Canadians.
By about 2 p.m., the sailboat passengers and rescue team were aboard Norwegian Gem.
The ship arrived in New York on Oct. 30, 30 minutes later than its planned arrival. The five Sanctuary passengers disembarked in New York.
“This rescue operation was conducted under extremely difficult circumstances,” said Svedung. “I am proud of our crew who braved their lives to rescue the five people in distress.”
For cruise news and updates, follow Donna Tunney on Twitter @dttravelweekly.