Mein Schiff 1 crew rescues sailors from distressed sailboat - one sailor dead

Nov 29, 2021

The cruise ship Mein Schiff 1 responded to a mayday call and rescued two men from the French sailboat “Agecanonix” during the ship’s return from the Caribbean to the German port of Bremerhaven. Unfortunately, the third sailor died on the sailboat before the cruise ship reached to rescue the survivors.

The three sailors onboard “Agecanonix” participated in the annual transatlantic regatta from the Canaries to Saint Lucia, in the Caribbean.  During the night of November 26, the boat was sailing south of the Azores, when a sailor hit his head during the rough seas. According to the testimonies, despite the help of one of the shipmates who managed to hold him back and prevent him to fall into the sea, the man died instantly as a result of the injury. 

The skipper made an emergency call to the northern French Maritime Rescue Coordination Center (MRCC) that coordinated the rescue which was eventually taken over by the MRCC Ponta Delgada in the Azores as it was closer to the scene of the accident.

The German Bild shared the following video of the rescue operation.

The rescue coordination center diverted the German cruise ship “Mein Schiff 1” to the scene of the accident which was the closest vessel in the area. The Captain of the Mein Schiff 1, Omar Caruana, immediately diverted the course of the ship with about 1440 German guests aboard. The giant cruise ship arrived at the scene on November 27th at around 21:30 UTC. The ship was positioned to windwards of the sailboat in order to prevent wind and waves for the rescue operation. A lifeboat was launched and approached the French sailboat, however, the wind increased to more than 40 knots during the maneuver. The sailing yacht got out of control and, despite several attempts, it was not possible to rescue the sailors.

The rescue operation continued the following day as the crew of “Mein Schiff 1” was waiting nearby for the weather to improve. On November 28, Ponta Delgada rescue center reported that the rescue operation has been completed. Both sailors and the deceased are now on board the “Mein Schiff 1” which has set course for Funchal, Madeira.