Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Japanese Shipping Lines Bulk Carriers In Rescue Drama

MOL vessels Answer Government Appeal and Race to Rescue
Shipping News Feature

BRAZIL – Two of Mitsui OSK (MOL) Lines woodchip carriers Hokuetsu Delight and Crystal Pioneer diverted to the site where the Canadian 57-meter sailing ship Concordia reportedly capsized in strong winds about 8 p.m. on 17th February. Answering radio appeals the two freight vessels found and rescued all 64 who had been aboard the stricken vessel.

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. The task of the two giant vessels cannot be understated. Despite the high winds and rough seas which make the carriers, both of more than 40,000 tonnes, extremely difficult to manoeuvre the 45 Filipino crew managed the task and pulled the entire complement of the Concordia, including many University and High School students, relatively unharmed from the water.