The Amver participating cruise ship, Norwegian Star, rescued two sailors from their disabled sailboat 55 miles northwest of Pinar Del Rio, Cuba on Saturday, March 3, 2012. U.S. Coast Guard rescue authorities in Miami received an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) alert for the 38 foot sailboat, Hokulani.
The US Coast Guard, using an Amver surface picture, determined the Norwegian Star was only 30 miles away from the distress location and diverted them to assist. They also launched an Ocean Sentry aircraft to assist in the search.
The sailboat was severely damaged by rough seas and the crew was worried they would not make it to port. “We have been dragging our rogue [anchor] for 18 hours,” a survivor reported to the Coast Guard, “I don’t know we can make it.”
The 965 foot cruise ship arrived on scene and launched a small boat to recover the two sailors. Waves were 2 to 4 feet with winds gusting approximately 20 knots as the rescue boat came alongside the sailboat.
Within four hours of the initial distress notification the sailors were safely aboard the Bahamian flagged cruise ship and headed to its next port, Tampa, Fla. The sailboat was marked as a hazard to navigation and left adrift. The sailors were uninjured.
The Norwegian Star enrolled in the Amver system on July 28, 2004 and has earned seven awards for participation. The was not the first time the Norwegian Star has saved someone. The cruise ship also rescued a sailor from a damaged sail boat in 2009 near Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.